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Yankees, Luis Severino have discussed contract extension

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Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees and starter Luis Severino have had discussions about a contract extension, although nothing is expected to be resolved anytime soon.

Severino and the Yankees are expected to go to an arbitration hearing. The right-hander filed for a $5.25 million salary while the Yankees countered at $4.4 million. Severino has three more years of arbitration eligibility remaining, so a possible extension would likely cover at least those three years and likely one or two years of his initial free agent years.

Severino, 24, finished ninth in AL Cy Young Award balloting last season, going 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and a 220/46 K/BB ratio in 191 1/3 innings. He also finished third in AL Cy Young Award balloting in 2017.

Like the Phillies and starter Aaron Nola, the Yankees may prefer to get an extension done ahead of the hearing so they don’t have to bad-mouth their star pitcher to his face. As Randy Miller of NJ.com reports, Severino remembers how the club handled its arbitration hearing with reliever Dellin Betances and agent Jim Murray in 2017. After the Yankees won the arbitration hearing against Betances, president Randy Levine said in a conference call with reporters, “[Betances’ argument] is like me saying I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut.” Levine continued, “What his agents did was make him a victim of a attempt to change a market place in baseball that has been well established for 30, 40 years.”

Murray said in 2017, “It was very ironic to hear the Yankees’ president express his love and affection when he spent the only portion of the hearing, to which he contributed to, was calling this player by the wrong first name. It is Dellin, for the record. He then proceeded to blame Dellin for the Yankees’ declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history while trying to bully the panel, saying something to the effect that the sky will fall if they rule for the player.”

Severino said today, “I hear it’s not a good experience, but at the end of the day this is a job, so they’re going to do anything they can to save some money. I understand that. If I win or lose, at the end of the day, I’ll come here to pitch.”

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.