New York Yankees: Luis Severino should have skipped the WBC like Gary Sanchez
Feb 14, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Luis Severino (40) works out as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Luis Severino is currently competing for one of the final two rotation spots for the New York Yankees. So why did he elect to pitch in the World Baseball Classic?

Luis Severino is one of the many New York Yankees fighting for a roster spot in Spring Training. If he pitches well, he could get one of the two spots in the rotation. But if he pitches poorly, he could find himself starting the year in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

With so much at stake for Severino, you would think he’d stay in camp and compete for a roster spot, right? Well, prior to Spring Training, Severino announced he was going to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic, which startled Yankees fans.


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The WBC is one of the most exciting events in Major League Baseball. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy watching teams of different nationalities fight for baseball honor — and a cool trophy. But at the end of the day, it’s a meaningless tournament that doesn’t have any impact on the regular season.

Severino pitching in the World Baseball Classic seems very important to him, and many respect that. However, he doesn’t have a spot locked up on the roster. If Severino is pitching for the Dominican Republic, how is manager Joe Girardi going to properly evaluate him? What if another pitcher like

What if another pitcher like Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell or Adam Warren impresses Girardi to the point where Severino doesn’t get a rotation spot? Shouldn’t Severino’s priority be the Yankees? 

In stark contrast, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was originally going to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. But prior to Spring Training, Sanchez decided against playing in the tournament. Instead, Sanchez wanted to spend Spring Training preparing for the upcoming season.

Finally, a Yankees player with priorities.

If Severino already had a roster spot locked up, there would be no issue with him playing in the World Baseball Classic. However, he’s supposed to be entering camp with something to prove. And he’s going to play in a tournament that’s not beneficial to the Yankees upcoming season?

The truth of the matter is Girardi and Larry Rothschild aren’t going to wait around for Severino. They might hear positive–or negative — things about Severino during the World Baseball Classic, but it’s not the same as having him in camp, where they can properly analyze him.

While the circumstance of pulling out of the World Baseball Classic was different for Sanchez, Severino should have followed suit. Severino is one good or bad spring away from either starting in the Bronx or in Scranton.

And if Severino doesn’t win a rotation job, I can’t say that I’d be surprised.

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When Delia isn’t writing about baseball, she’s watching baseball. When she’s not watching baseball, she’s reading about baseball. And when she’s not reading about baseball, she’s writing about baseball. Delia is currently a contributing writer for the New York Yankees. She also the lead writer for the Yankees website Bronx Baseball Daily and occasionally covers games for the Staten Island Yankees.