Luis Severino agrees to deal with Mets (Source)

Luis Severino agrees to deal with Mets (Source)

NEW YORK — A Mets team in desperate need of a starting pitching position began filling that void Wednesday with a former standout from the town next door. The team has agreed to a one-year, $13 million deal with right-hander Luis Severino, marking the first major signing of the David Stearns era, a source told MLB.com.

Later Wednesday, the Mets also agreed to terms with outfielder Joey Wendle on a one-year, $2 million contract. The team has not confirmed any of the deal as it is not official yet.

Severino, 29, spent his eight-year career with the Yankees, including All-Star seasons in 2017 and 18. But injuries began to affect him in a profound way with a right rotator cuff strain in 2019, followed by Tommy John surgery in ’20. Transverse and oblique issues have since affected Severino, who pitched in 18 games last season and produced a 6.65 ERA.

As such, the range of results for Severino in 2024 is wide. He remains one of the most powerful pitchers in the game, ranking in the 88th percentile in fastball velocity. But he hasn’t had a fully healthy season in half a decade, and struggled throughout the ’23 season.

However, Severino is a risk worth taking for the Mets, given their hope of putting a contender on the field without agreeing to too many new long-term contracts. At his best, Severino emerges as a prodigious talent still a few months away from his 30th birthday; His injury history and recent lack of success is what made him available on a one-year deal. At worst, it represents a $13 million budget line for an organization that can afford such mistakes.

At this point, every arm the Mets can get is crucial. The team now has three starters under guaranteed contract in Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana and Severino. New York ranks among the favorites to land Japanese free agent star Yoshinobu Yamamoto as well, although it faces stiff competition from other big-market clubs on that front. Stearns, the club’s new president of baseball operations, said he expects the Mets to acquire several starting pitchers this winter — and that could mean two or three on guaranteed deals, depending on how the rest of the season unfolds, as well as others in the minor league. shrinkage.

The Mets are also expected to add more offense even after acquiring Wendle, a 33-year-old veteran of the A’s, Rays and Marlins. Known for his versatility, Wendell played five different defensive positions throughout his eight-year career, spending most of his time at second, third base and shortstop. The left-handed hitter was an All-Star in 2021, slashing .265/.319/.422 with 11 home runs and 31 doubles. But Wendell struggled over the past two seasons in Miami, slashing .238/.275/.335.

In New York, Wendle offers the Mets insurance at second base if they choose to use Jeff McNeil in the outfield, and at third should Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos fail to distinguish themselves next spring. His presence also makes trading one of these three more logical.

Another notable aspect of Wednesday’s agreements is that both Severino and Wendel agreed to one-year deals. Team owner Steve Cohen has described 2024 as a bridge year for the Mets, who hope to avoid burdening themselves with long-term deals as their farm system matures. While targets like Yamamoto are potential exceptions, the Mets intend to acquire more players like Severino and Wendell who will be off the books by the time their system bears more regular fruit.

Even with two major league decades drawing to a close, the Mets will still be busy at the winter meetings next week and throughout December. Their basic needs include one or two starting pitchers, a hard-hitting cornerback or DH type and several relievers.

(tags for translation) MLB

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