Through the first few weeks of the Spring Training season, the Yankees had avoided any significant injuries to their projected 25-man roster. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case as Luis Severino will likely be sidelined through at least Opening Day with right shoulder inflammation.
Severino, 25, was set to make his spring debut Tuesday afternoon up until about 10 minutes prior to first pitch when it was reported that LHP Stephen Tarpley would get the start in his place. This comes just two weeks after Severino was inked to a 4-year/$40M extension with a $15M club option for his age 29-season. Sirens started alarming all over the Yankee internet community with thoughts of a possible lost season for their Dominican ace.
Although that still may ultimately be the case, the word from manager Aaron Boone is that Severino’s MRI results, besides the inflammation, “looked pretty good”.
Who slots in as the Yankees’ Opening Day starter?
It seems like the newly acquired James Paxton was set to be the club’s No. 2 guy behind Severino, so it seems the easy answer would be to just slide him in as their ace for the time being. However, it seems like the most likely scenario, to me at least, would be to give the now long-time Yankee Masahiro Tanaka the nod to start the 2019 campaign.
Of course, Tanaka isn’t as consistently dominant as he once was, but if you combine stuff and their experience as a Yankee, it seems only fair to give the 30-year-old the Opening Day starter title once again.
In 27 starts last season, the Japanese native posted a 3.75 ERA/4.01 FIP with a 9.17 K/9 in 156 innings. Tanaka has proven to be a big-game pitcher, however. In 30 career postseason innings, he’s pitched to a stellar 1.50 ERA, allowing just 17 hits to powerhouse teams like the Astros, Indians, and Red Sox.