On Monday, shortly after the Yankees acquired Frankie Montas, they moved Luis Severino to the 60-day injured list due to his lat strain. That seemed to shine a light on why the acquisition of Montas was so important to the club, as the severity of Severino’s injury wasn’t publicly known at the time. Given that the Yankees don’t expect him to be back before mid-September, it made sense why the rotation upgrade was desired.
However, it seems that the seriousness of the injury came as a surprise to Severino himself, with Chris Kirschner of The Athletic reporting that Severino was unhappy with the transfer. “I was not happy. I was not expecting that,” Severino said of being moved to the 60-day IL.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spoke to Kirschner about the miscommunication. “When we tried to walk through it with a calendar, (Severino) just didn’t want to see it,” Cashman said. “He just wants to pitch. He’s not capable of pitching yet, and it’s going to take time to get him back on line. We both wish he was healthy right now. We both wish he was capable, but he’s not.”
Manager Aaron Boone tells Kirschner that the Yankees still plan to stretch Severino out as a starter when he returns. That suggests that Severino might need some kind of rehab once his lat has healed, to build back into a starter’s workload. Perhaps the confusion arose from the fact that Severino might start throwing again in about a month but then would need a few weeks to get fully geared up. A minor league rehab assignment for a pitcher can last as long as 30 days. “It just comes down to this is the program that gets him back and you can’t speed up or you risk breaking him again,” Cashman said. “That’s not in anyone’s best interest.”
Though it remains to be seen how Severino’s return progresses, the fact that he was surprised by his transfer suggests that he doesn’t expect to be out longer than the 60-day minimum, allowing him to return just in time for the final postseason push.
Elsewhere in Yankee rotation news, Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald relay that the Yankees and Dodgers both pushed the Marlins for a Pablo Lopez trade, with the Yankees getting “closest” to a deal. Though the full trade scenarios that were discussed aren’t know, the report says that Gleyber Torres was mentioned.
It’s unclear if it was the Yankees or the Marlins that wanted to include Torres in trade talks, but it’s understandable why the Marlins would want him. Torres is hitting .257/.312/.466 on the year for a wRC+ of 120. He’s also making just $6.25MM this year and can be retained for a further two seasons via arbitration. However, the Marlins already have a star second baseman in Jazz Chisholm Jr., who is out for the remainder of this season but would be back next year. Torres was a shortstop when he came up but was moved to second by the Yanks after he failed to impress there. Even if the Marlins were willing to give him another try there, that would also be a bit of an awkward fit with Miguel Rojas still around for one more season.
Regardless of the various packages that were discussed, it is notable that the Yanks tried to get yet another starter. As mentioned earlier, they swapped in Montas to take the place of Severino, but then later flipped Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals. That leaves them with a four-man rotation of Montas, Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Jameson Taillon. Domingo German has recently been called up from the minors and has made three starts but has a 6.39 so far.
Acquiring Lopez and bumping German back to the minors surely would have been a boon for the rotation, as Lopez has a 3.41 ERA through 21 starts on the year and fairly similar results in the previous two campaigns as well. A trade for Lopez was always going to be a challenge given that he can be controlled for two more seasons beyond this one, but perhaps the two clubs can revisit talks in the offseason and build off the conversations they’ve already had. Taillon is set to reach free agency after this season, potentially causing the Yankees to look for an extra hurler.