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New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman might be working without a contract, but that doesn't mean he's lacking in plans for the offseason. The first check on the to-do list came Friday when Cashman said during his press conference that he intends to exercise the Yankees' $15 million club option on right-hander Luis Severino. (Had the Yankees declined that option, they would have owed Severino a $2.75 million buyout.)

"Yes. I mean, I haven't talked to anybody about it yet, but he's a really impactful pitcher," Cashman said, "so the answer to that would be an easy yes." 

Severino, 29 years old come February, started 19 times for the Yankees last season, his most appearances since 2018. He amassed a 3.18 ERA (123 ERA+) and a 3.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 102 innings. His contributions were worth an estimated 1.6 Wins Above Replacement, according to the calculations found at Baseball Reference.

Luis Severino
NYY • SP • #40
ERA3.18
WHIP1
IP102
BB30
K112
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Severino has endured his share of physical woes the last few years. He was limited to three appearances in 2019 because of rotator cuff inflammation and a lat strain, then missed all of 2020 and made just four appearances in 2021 because of Tommy John surgery. Severino required a pair of stints on the shelf this season, too, most recently missing more than two months because of another lat strain.

Nevertheless, the Yankees clearly believe in Severino's ability to pitch when he's healthy, and it's unlikely they would find a comparable talent for the same price. (Especially considering that Severino will qualify for free agency next winter, making this the equivalent of a one-year contract regardless of how it works out.)

Of course, the most pressing issue facing Cashman this winter isn't Severino's option, or even his own contract. It's if and how the Yankees will retain the services of outfielder Aaron Judge, the American League's new home-run king and likely Most Valuable Player Award recipient.