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Yankees, Luis Severino avoid arbitration with four-year deal

New York Yankees Luis Severino throws a bullpen

New York Yankees Luis Severino throws a bullpen session at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa during spring training on the afternoon of February 14, 2019. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

TAMPA, Fla. – Luis Severino got his wish.

So did the Yankees.

The ace righthander, scheduled to have his arbitration hearing Friday afternoon in St. Petersburg, reached an agreement with the Yankees earlier in the day on a four-year contract extension, the team announced. A source confirmed the deal was for $40 million.

The deal, which has a club option for 2023, will become official after Severino passes a physical. Because the deal was not officially announced until later in the day, manager Aaron Boone was able to speak only in generalities about locking up Severino for at least the next four years.

“He’s a great pitcher and I hope he’s here for a long time,” Boone said. “That would be my hope and I’ll be excited to have him back in camp [Saturday].”

The sides had been talking about an extension in recent weeks in hopes of avoiding the hearing.

“I think any player doesn’t want to be in that situation,” Severino said Wednesday of the at-times-contentious arbitration process.

The last time a Yankee went through the process, Dellin Betances' 2017 hearing resulted in bad blood on both sides. Boone, who was not the manager then, was pleased that the potential for a repeat was avoided.

“Any time, in an arbitration situation, when the two sides can agree, I think that’s better for the club certainly and the player to not have to go through that process,” Boone said. “I think there’s a real nice purpose to it in that hopefully it leads to an agreement more often than not. And certainly with us, that’s always my hope.”

Severino, whom Boone named as his likely Opening Day starter, finished last season 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA. He struck out 220 in 191 1/3 innings. He got off to a 13-2 start with a 1.98 ERA but went 6-6 with a 5.67 ERA in his last 14 starts.

Severino will turn 25 on Wednesday. He is 41-25 with a 3.51 ERA in 96 games, including 85 starts, during his four-year career with the Yankees.

“In a lot of ways, I think we saw the normal progression of a young star pitcher,” Boone said earlier in the week of Severino’s 2018 season. “And even though he had, obviously, some struggles in the second half, I also think he had some flashes where he pitched really well for us, righted the ship a little bit. Hopefully some of the things he’s worked on this winter, hopefully there’s some things he tightens up a little more that allow him to continue to progress and really continue to establish himself as one of the aces in this league."

Speaking on Monday after a morning workout at the club’s minor- league complex in Tampa, Severino said last year’s second half gave him plenty of motivation during the offseason. He worked on his mechanics and his body, which he said felt “tired” late in the year. He showed up 12 to 15 pounds lighter, he said, the result of a new diet stressing vegetables and no fried food.

“It was tough,” he said. “I had a great first half and then all that happened. [But] I know the pitcher I am. I know I can go back [to the pitcher of the first half]. I know I can pitch well again.”

Notes & quotes: Boone said Betances, out while his wife recovers from delivering the couple’s first child on Wednesday, is scheduled to fly to Tampa on Sunday night and be on the field Monday ... CC Sabathia will hold a news conference Saturday to discuss, among other things, his offseason heart procedure and his intent to retire after this season, something he first announced publicly in November.


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