The Brewers have signed catcher Pedro Severino to a one-year, $1.9MM deal, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter). Another $400K in incentives are available to the 28-year-old backstop, who is represented by Republik Sports. The contract will become official when Severino passes a physical.
After Manny Pina signed with the Braves earlier this week, Severino will now step directly into Pina’s role as the right-handed hitting complement to the lefty-swinging Omar Narvaez behind the plate in Milwaukee. Narvaez struggles badly against left-handed pitching and he struggled in general in the second half of the 2021 season, so there should be a fair amount of playing time available to Severino with his new club.
Severino, for his part, has a very solid .262/.324/.441 career slash line against left-handed pitching, with particularly good numbers in both 2019 (.812 OPS in 155 PA) and 2021 (.818 OPS in 161 PA). Severino didn’t do much against righties, however, and between his projected $3.1MM arbitration salary and Adley Rutschman looming as the Orioles’ catcher of the future, Baltimore chose to outright Severino off its 40-man roster earlier this month. Severino then opted to become a free agent for the first time in his career.
Severino has a third and final year of arbitration eligibility next winter, so this extra year of control gives the Brewers some flexibility in future catching decisions since Narvaez is himself a free agent after the 2022 campaign. Prospect Mario Feliciano made his MLB debut last year, so if the Brew Crew is optimistic about his future, Milwaukee could potentially roll with a Feliciano/Severino combination in 2023 if the club decided to let Narvaez walk.
Defensively, Severino has been a below-average framer and he has -19 Defensive Runs Saved over his career. As noted by Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, however, there is some cause for optimism that the Brewers can get Severino turned around in the same way that Narvaez went from being a subpar defender to a very strong pitch-framer in his two seasons with the Brew Crew.