New York Yankees: Good news on the Luis Severino front

Luis Severino is progressing well in his return to the New York Yankees from Tommy John.

Starting pitcher Luis Severino may not be available in 2020 for the New York Yankees, but fans of the Bronx Bombers received a bit of good news recently with an update on their 26-year-old star pitcher.

After shoulder and lat troubles limited Severino to just three regular season starts in 2019, Tommy John surgery will keep Severino off the mound completely in 2020, even if an agreement is reached and baseball is played this year. But recovery is going well for the 2x-All-Star.

“Things have been progressing well. I’ve been making steady progress” said Severino in a piece by George A. King III of the New York Post. “I’m doing everything I need to do right now so that I can start throwing this summer.’’

That may be good news for the 2021 season, but what about the (fingers crossed) 2020 season?

With July 4th weekend being the current target date to begin the 2020 season, the Yankees are likely to have Giancarlo Stanton (calf strain), Aaron Judge (fractured rib), Aaron Hicks (Tommy John), and James Paxton (back surgery) at or near full strength, giving New York a notable advantage in a shortened season by having many of their injured stars healthy from the start instead of having to keep afloat for nearly half a season.

It’s hard to find another major league rotation that would have matched this group with a healthy Luis Severino added in. Severino won 33 games between 2017 and 2018, striking out 450 total hitters in 384.2 innings, making back-to-back All-Star appearances and finishing Top 10 in the American League Cy Young race both years.

Even without Severino, the Yankees still have a starting rotation consisting of Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ and Paxton. That rotation with expanded rosters to keep the rotation and bullpen fresh (as well as hitters like Stanton and Judge) will keep the New York Yankees in contention for not just an American League East title, but a possible World Series run.

A healthy Severino will provide a huge boost to the 2021 Yankees roster with fellow starting pitchers Tanaka and Paxton hitting the free agent market at the end of the year. However, the Yankees may have an opportunity to bring them back fairly easily next season.

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As major league owners cry poor, there’s a real chance that this upcoming offseason free agency period won’t provide many lucrative opportunities for pending free agents. This isn’t a positive and it would be yet another stain on the game, but it’s a reality that players may have to face.

Should that be the case, teams like the Yankees will have less competition in signing free agents like Tanaka and Paxton who will demand sizable contracts, even as they enter their age-32 seasons in 2021.

We’re a long way away from worrying about the impacts on free agency, but it’s something to keep in mind.

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What we do know is that Luis Severino feels good and is working his way back to the mound for the New York Yankees. Whether or not the Yankees still have Tanaka and Paxton in the rotation when Severino returns, New York will still have one of the top one-two punches in baseball with Cole and a healthy Severino.