The Padres are in agreement on a split contract with catcher Pedro Severino, reports Robert Murray of FanSided (Twitter link). The deal will pay him $1.95MM if he’s in the majors and contains an additional $550K in performance bonuses, according to Murray. Severino will not secure an immediate spot on the 40-man roster, according to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Severino, 29, has appeared in the majors in each of the past eight seasons. He broke in as a depth player with the Nationals, suiting up in 35 combined games between 2015-17. The backstop got a fair amount of action over the next four seasons, which he split between the Nats and Orioles. While he struggled mightily during his final season in Washington, he posted respectable offensive numbers for a catcher during his three years in Baltimore.
From 2019-21, Severino hit .249/.315/.397 through 938 plate appearances. He connected on 29 home runs with roughly league average strikeout and walk numbers. Nevertheless, the Orioles non-tendered him in lieu of a projected $3.1MM arbitration salary last offseason.
While partially motivated by the forthcoming arrival of Adley Rutschman, the O’s decision also reflected Severino’s defensive shortcomings. Public metrics have pegged him as a well below-average defender behind the dish. He routinely rates as a worse than average pitch framer, per Statcast, which pegged him as 10 runs below par in that regard in 2021. Severino was behind the plate for 10 passed balls and 66 wild pitches in 883 innings during his final season with the Orioles. That was the second-highest total in MLB in both categories, and while the pitching staff surely shoulders some of the responsibility, it didn’t reflect especially well on his work as a receiver.
After being cut loose by Baltimore, he caught on with the Brewers on a $1.9MM free agent deal. Before the season started, Severino tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Clomiphene. He attributed the result to an unintentional byproduct of fertility treatments he’d undergone in the Dominican Republic.
Severino was suspended 80 games. In the immediate aftermath of that ban, Milwaukee acquired Víctor Caratini from the Padres to pair with Omar Narváez. The Brewers reinstated Severino in July, but he appeared in just eight games as the team’s #3 catcher before being designated him for assignment. He went unclaimed on waivers and played out the season at Triple-A Nashville, where he hit .308/.349/.496 with four homers over 126 plate appearances.
The right-handed hitter qualified for minor league free agency at year’s end. He finds a new landing spot in San Diego, the fourth organization of his career. The Friars presently have Austin Nola, Luis Campusano and Brett Sullivan (coincidentally part of the trade package for Caratini) as backstops on the 40-man roster. Severino slides in behind that group as a depth option.