- ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
Starter Luis Severino and the New York Yankees agreed on a four-year, $40 million contract extension that buys out his arbitration years and includes a fifth-year club option that would cover one season of free agency, league sources told ESPN.
The 24-year-old Severino, who has emerged as the Yankees’ ace over the last two seasons, avoided going to an arbitration hearing Friday. It was the fourth long-term deal signed by young players in the past three days.
The deal, which could max out at $52.25 million over five years, includes an interesting twist. The money is front-loaded more than usual as protection against a potential work stoppage, according to sources.
Severino will make $4 million with a $2 million signing bonus in 2019, $10 million in 2020, $10.25 million in 2021 and $11 million in 2022, the season after which the current collective bargaining agreement expires. A $15 million club option for 2023 includes a $2.75 million buyout.
If the Yankees exercise the option, Severino will hit the open market after the 2023 season at 29 years old.
The New York Post first reported the Yankees’ agreement with Severino.
After struggling in 2016, Severino, equipped with one of the firmest fastballs from a starter in the major leagues, turned in back-to-back All-Star seasons, throwing at least 190 innings both years. With his high strikeout and low walk and home run rates, he is considered among the ideal modern pitchers in terms of performance.
Sources said that Severino’s deal came together as the parties were preparing for what would have been the final arbitration case of the year. While he was hoping to reset the market for first-time-eligible starters, which has been stagnant since Dontrelle Willis, the allure of a deal that guaranteed nearly as much money as Nola’s while giving up only one free-agent season was tempting for both sides, sources said.