The Yankees want to see Luis Severino end the ALDS on Monday night, but his start is even more important for the team’s long-term future.
Luis Severino only threw 12 regular season innings in 2019 for the Yankees, but he’s still getting the ball from Aaron Boone to start Game 3 of the ALDS in Minnesota. While New York would love to see him end the series early with a dominant outing, they’re more concerned with what the start means for the team’s long-term future.
This isn’t the way Severino’s season was supposed to go. Coming off a shaky second-half and playoffs in 2018, the 2019 campaign was supposed to be the right-hander’s redemption tour. Then a twinge of pain in his shoulder caused him to be scratched from his first Spring Training start. Injuries ended up limiting the 25-year-old ace to just three starts during the regular season. Somehow, Aaron Boone was able to cobble together a rotation without Severino that was able to win the AL East by a relatively wide margin.
The upside for the organization is that Severino has thrown the ball pretty well since returning from the Injured List. His ERA of just 1.50 in his 12 innings on the season showed Boone enough to insert him in the postseason rotation. When he takes the mound against the powerful Twins lineup on Monday night there will be a ton of scrutiny placed on each and every pitch he throws.
The obvious importance of his start is the ability to dispatch Minnesota in a sweep. Ending the series is obviously important, but ending it early could mean a lot to a Yankees team with a lot of veterans who could benefit from some extra rest. No one in New York is taking the series’ outcome for granted though. They want to see Severino come out and quiet the home crowd in emphatic fashion on Monday night.
The reality is that Severino’s postseason performance is going to have a huge impact on what Brian Cashman and his front office do this winter. The team’s starting rotation will be addressed in some form or fashion in the offseason. The team’s opinion on what they can get out of Severino in 2020 and beyond will affect just how many resources are deployed to fix/improve the group though. If Severino can come out and flash dominant stuff during the postseason it could allow the Yankees to pass on breaking the bank for free agents like Gerrit Cole. The idea of passing on Cole may not please Yankees fans who yearn for the days of George Steinbrenner’s reckless spending, but it would allow Cashman a lot more payroll flexibility moving forward.
If, on the other hand, Severino doesn’t look sharp and/or healthy against the Twins on Monday night, it’s only going to crank up the pressure on Cashman to use big-time resources to add an ace this winter. That could occur either via free agency or a trade, but it would prove expensive to the Yankees in either form.
It may not be fair to put so much stock in one postseason start, but Severino’s injury-plagued campaign makes that a reality for the Yankees. His Game 3 start against the Twins will have a huge impact on how New York’s front office approaches their rotation for seasons to come. Yankees fans should keep a close eye on every pitch Severino throws during the playoffs.