Luis Severino, Cy Young Candidate 2018

Yankees: Luis Severino Goes Down But Who Comes Up?

Luis Severino will not be making his scheduled start for the Yankees on Opening Day. Stuff happens, but there’s always a plan…

Yankees ace Luis Severino felt some discomfort when he unleashed a slider during his warmup before facing the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. Smartness prevailed on his part, and he immediately notified Yankees brass. The ensuing MRI reveals inflammation in his right shoulder, causing the Yankees to take the better side of caution shutting Severino down for at least two weeks.

With Severino sidelined for Opening Day and possibly beyond, the Yankees brain trust immediately swung into a Plan B mentality, coming up with some options utilizing the players currently on hand to fill the gap (more in just a minute).

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More appealing to some Yankees fans might be a surge to sign Dallas Keuchel, and that is within the scope of the Yankees thinking as well, even though Keuchel’s price tag is well beyond their reach if they intend to stay reasonably close the luxury tax threshold (the Yankees are already beyond the threshold of $206 million).

This is when championship teams make or break themselves. Every time I listen to a player being interviewed about his prospects for the upcoming season, he always – always – says if I can just stay healthy.

Well, s__t happens, especially with pitchers who live one pitch to the next healthwise. So, therefore, the old axiom in baseball that you can never have enough pitching is accurate. And to compound the problem, the baseball season is L-O-N-G and full of potholes and IED’s along the way.

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Brian Cashman has done what he can to predict and fill the holes created by these injuries causing critical players to lose time. Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, and Domingo German are on standby to fill a spot or two in the Yankees rotation.

Of the three, Loaisiga appears to have the Yankees attention the most. Yesterday, for instance, Brian Cashman told the New York Post,  “He has been impressive ever since we signed him. “I remember when Gene Michael was with us, he’d say, ‘Hey, this kid has a shot.’ ”

But here’s the catch. If any of them were that good, they would have already been inserted into the rotation from the get-go. Thus, no matter how the Yankees spin it, they are in deep do-do.

Excepting injury (there we go again), Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton are credible features remaining in the Yankees starting rotation. That’s boom, boom, boom coming at an opponent in a three-game series.

Here’s the proverbial bottom line though. The Yankees will not win the American League East, much less their 28th World Championship without outscoring their opponents. The bats, whether it be Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, or the platoon of Greg Bird and Luke Voit must come up big.

Yes, the bullpen is fantastic, but there are still five innings (minimum) and fifteen outs that must be recorded before the guys in the pen take over.

Dallas Keuchel, minus his beard, of course, belongs on the 2019 installment of the New York Yankees. Scott Boras may not relish this, but the fact is his client priced himself out of a market that didn’t exist. Therefore, a one-year deal with an opportunity to win another ring might be enticing to Keuchel at this late stage of the game. Who knows? Might be worth a try, though.

Severino going down is not the beginning nor the end of the Yankees season. Other teams will feel the same weight of having to plug holes not anticipated. The Boston Red Sox, for example, just lost the services of their bullpen/starter swingman, Steven Wright, today when he was hit with an 80 game suspension for violation of the league’s PED rules.

Championship teams fill those holes, this way or that way. The Yankees are the first team up on the board after losing their ace in Luis Severino. How will this plays out is the first indication of whether or not the Yankees have the flexibility and the depth to survive and thrive over another long baseball season.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has an interesting take in this video that makes sense too…


Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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2 comments

  1. Great article Steve and I agree with you 100%. With Paxson’s injury history, Tanaka’s arm always vulnerable for choosing to forgo surgery a few years ago and this thing with Severino, you need 6 bonafide starters for 5 spots on this Yankee team. I disagree with Chris Russo’s take on this. He says “the Yankees season starts in October” so it doesn’t matter if they don’t get a proven starter to step in. Yeah, just what a Yankee fan wants to see. A second place finish in the A/L East just so that they can have the excitement of a 50/50 chance of being bounced from the playoffs in the first post season game!

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