Play the kids! Need youth! It's funny how sports fans will sometimes be blinded. Everyone is out to be a General Manager, and they have the best ideas to come up with a championship winning recipe. Sometimes they'll be right, and sometimes they'll be wrong. Such is the nature of sports.
Now I'm not talking about the obvious decisions like "Bryce Harper would make a better starting right fielder than Lyle Overbay" statements, but it's more how people come up with "intricate" solutions to obvious problems on the field. Sometimes, people will admit that they're willing to deal with the growing pains of a young player, just so they don't have to deal with the veteran who just quite doesn't have it, aka the Rob Refsnyder/Stephen Drew conundrum.
Last year, after seeing him shoot through the system, the Yankees finally gave Luis Severino a shot to be in the major league rotation. What did he do with that opportunity? 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts. Instead of trading for a front-line starter like David Price, the Yankees put their faith in Severino and he rewarded them. Now sure, there's some indication that his numbers were better than he actually pitched (4.37 FIP), but he showed he could handle the challenge of a major league lineup.
As a result of how well he pitched last year, some people were clamoring for him to start the AL Wild Card game against the Astros over Masahiro Tanaka. At the very least, people had penciled him into the major league starting rotation for the 2016 season. There were some rumors during the off-season that the Yankees might sign a starting pitcher. If that was the case, it would be Severino who would likely have suffered because while the team had plenty of starting pitching options, Severino was the only one who could be sent to the minors. When people got wind of this, grumblings began of how Severino should be guaranteed a spot in the rotation, and how it would be unfair for him to be sent down to Scranton.
Obviously the Yankees did not sign any free agents so the dilemma of sending Severino down never came to fruition. The Yankees had a fifth starter competition but Severino was not one of the two players competing for that spot. CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova battled it out for a rotation spot, although to be fair the spot was always going to go to Sabathia as long as he was healthy, and the rotation was set once Sabathia "won the battle."
Now to start the season, none of the Yankees' rotation members have been particularly impressive. The bright spots have been Masahiro Tanaka and thanks to a no-hit bid against the Rangers, Nathan Eovaldi, but without that start it would just be Tanaka on the list. Michael Pineda has been anything but good, and Sabathia has been pretty much as expected. Severino came into the season with high expectations and has thus far disappointed.
After his latest start, a three-inning, six-run shelling at the hands of the Rangers, some fans and media outlets have been wondering if demoting him to Triple-A is the right move to make. The logic behind this is that he hasn't been able to work out his troubles and he should do so in the minor leagues. This would allow him to work out of his funk but not necessarily hurt the Yankees. While in theory, this is a nice idea, it's not really the best solution for the Yankees or even Severino.
The first problem with this "solution" is that it's still only April. Severino has made only four starts, one was really bad (vs. Rangers), he's had a good start (2 ER in 6 IP vs. the A's), and two "eh" starts against the Mariners and the Tigers. Perhaps if he's still struggling later into the season, the team could visit this idea, but right now, it's just too soon to tell anything and there's still plenty of time for him to turn it around.
For Severino, there's a reason he shot through the farm system so quickly, and that's because his talent level was above the competition he was facing. Going back to the minors may help him tweak something, but he's not really going to be able to tell if it's effective unless he's facing competition on par with his talent. At this point, that competition is in the major leagues.
For the Yankees, sending him down makes even less sense because they have no one else to replace him. Forget everything else, this is probably the most important reason to keep Severino in the majors. This may be a shocker, but Ivan Nova is not good. While some are still upset he's in the bullpen over Sabathia, I believe (or at least hope) we can all agree that Nova should not be in the rotation over Severino. Let's face it, some may argue he's a better option than Sabathia, and while I disagree, there's at least a legitimate debate to be had. However, Nova in the rotation over Severino isn't a solution, it's just a different problem. Nova isn't very good, even though he'll randomly show some signs of being decent, but that alone is reason enough to keep Severino in the big leagues.
Fans always want to see the young talented players get their shot, but at the first sign of trouble they want some change. Players like Severino are special and talented and worth the growing pains we, as fans, would have to endure. Patience is key with young players, and that's quite evident in Severino's case at least in the early goings.
Do you think it's a good idea to send Severino down to Scranton or would you rather see him work it out up in the Bronx?