Tuesday afternoon, Patrick Corbin agreed to a contract with the Washington Nationals that is worth an astonishing $140 million over the course of six years. Whether or not there are opt-outs involved is yet to be announced, at the time of this writing.
The Yankees, long assumed to be the favorites to land the 29-year-old southpaw, reportedly would not extend their offer beyond five years, with Jon Heyman reporting that the Yanks’ official offer was five years and $100 million. For an extra year and $40 million more, I can’t blame Corbin for picking the Nats and not taking a massive discount. I think the Yankees would have been willing to increase the dollar figure, but it sounds like the sixth year was the deal breaker.
I’m not as upset as I thought I would be. I really like Corbin. He was far and away the top starter on the open market, but it’s not like he’s actually one of the five best pitchers in baseball. It is annoying when every indication was that he and his family greatly preferred the Yankees, but it’s alright.
I’m happy that Cashman and Co. held firm and refused to give in on the sixth year. I don’t love committing to any pitchers for more than four years or so, but I would have been cool with the fifth year on Corbin. He’s good!
Now there is a question of: where do the Yankees go from here? The next man on the free agency totem pole is probably JA Happ. He’s my top choice now. Other free agent options include old friend Nathan Eovaldi and old enemy Dallas Keuchel. I’m not too keen on either of those (particularly Keuchel), but they’re the next guys after Happ, right?
Happ is my top choice since he’s the most sure-thing of these three moving forward. Nobody truly knows what the deal with Eovaldi’s health is, and Keuchel seems to have taken big steps back this year, becoming essentially a league-average pitcher. He was awesome in 2015 and 2017, but bad in 2016 and very middling in 2018. I just don’t trust that volatility.
There is also Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi. Reports have indicated that the Yankees are at least kicking the tires on him. They were very interested in him coming out of high school but weren’t seen as frontrunners when he was posted early this week. Are they more open to him now that they don’t have Corbin?
JA Happ was dynamite down the stretch for us a year ago and he’s the type of guy that isn’t going to deteriorate altogether at this point in his career. He doesn’t have the kind of stuff that just goes away.
I wouldn’t commit to any of these guys for longer than two years, but I’d sign up for 2 years and $30ish million for Happ right now. That is if the Yankees plan to go through free agency to round out the rotation.
The Yankees very well could pull off a trade. The Indians may be open to moving any of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, or Trevor Bauer. There are also rumors that they would be willing to attach Jason Kipnis in a deal, which could help fill the Didi Gregorius gap as Gleyber Torres slides over to shortstop. Can they pry Madison Bumgarner from San Francisco? I doubt it.
Any of these trades are going to hurt, likely costing them Miguel Andujar and more, which would then make a Manny Machado signing mandatory. It would surely be an upgrade, but if you can keep Andujar and have the option of choosing between Machado and Bryce Harper, that would be a more fun decision. I think if there is a way to acquire any one of those guys (Kluber is my favorite) without giving up anyone presently on the MLB roster (aka not Andujar or Torres), then they should probably pull that trigger on such a move.
The offseason just got a lot more interesting. I trust Cashman with all of my heart. Let’s see what he does next.