The Yankees signed right-hander Luis Severino to a four-year, $40MM extension shortly before they were scheduled to face off against him in arbitration Friday. General manager Brian Cashman spoke about the buzzer-beating agreement Saturday, saying (via George A. King III of the New York Post): “We circled back 30 minutes before the hearing and I asked [agent Nelson Montes de Oca] if he wanted to circle back to my room again. The atmosphere was better, different. We both said we would rather not walk into this hearing and do what we have to do. We gave a little, they gave a little. The Severino extension may not be the last one the Yankees dole out before the season, as Cashman revealed that the club has “had conversations with some” unidentified players regarding new deals. Speculatively, center fielder Aaron Hicks, shortstop Didi Gregorius and reliever Dellin Betances – integral Yankees slated to reach free agency next winter – look like logical candidates.
Here’s the latest on a few other East Coast franchises:
- Manager Gabe Kapler claims the Phillies aren’t guaranteeing a No. 1 job to center fielder Odubel Herrera, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Herrera’s a four-year starter in Philly who still has three guaranteed seasons left on the $30.5MM extension he signed in 2016, but he turned in an underwhelming showing in 2018. He’ll now compete for a place in center and right this spring with Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr, according to Kapler. Although, if the Phillies add superstar right fielder Bryce Harper in free agency, it’ll give the Herrera-Quinn-Williams-Altherr quartet one fewer position to fight over. Herrera, for his part, has worked hard in recent months to get himself into better shape, as Lauber details, and Kapler expects the 27-year-old to benefit from the Phillies’ hiring of first base/outfield/baserunning coach Paco Figueroa.
- The Red Sox are expected to trade a catcher – be it Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon or Blake Swihart – before the season. If that happens, they’ll likely be left with minor league signing Juan Centeno as their No. 3 backstop. Manager Alex Cora said Saturday he’d be “comfortable” in that scenario, pointing out he’s familiar with the veteran Centeno from their time with the World Series-winning Houston organization in 2017, per Christopher Smith of MassLive.com. Centeno’s contract does not include an opt-out clause, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed to Smith, so the Red Sox aren’t in danger of losing him before the season. However, as Smith notes, if Boston adds Centeno to its 40-man roster at some point and then tries to send him to the minors, it’ll need to pass him through waivers because he’s out of options.
- Left-hander Ryan Borucki was one of the few bright spots on the Blue Jays’ pitching staff in 2018, a rookie year in which he turned in a 3.87 ERA/3.80 FIP over 97 2/3 innings and 17 starts. Nevertheless, while it appears the Jays are guaranteeing starting spots to Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and newcomers Matt Shoemaker and Clayton Richard heading into the season, general manager Ross Atkins indicated this week that Borucki will have to battle for a role in their rotation this spring, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com relays. The soon-to-be 25-year-old Borucki still looks to be the front-runner for the Jays’ No. 5 spot, though, as he’s clearly the most proven 40-man option left on their staff.