This week, 2018 All Star Patrick Corbin has visited with the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and the New York Yankees. The 29 year old star lefty had a breakout season last year, posting a 3.15 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. His peripherals are even more encouraging; his 2.47 FIP suggests that he was the victim of bad luck and his 5.13 strikeout to walk ratio was outstanding. There is some concern with Corbin – he missed the entire 2014 season while undergoing Tommy John Surgery and had a 4.60 ERA in the two seasons before last. Any team that signs him is hoping that he continues to produce like he did 2018, and if he does, he’ll help that team tremendously. So between the Nationals, Phillies, and Yankees, who is the best fit for Corbin? Let’s take a look.
#3 Philadelphia Phillies
No one is questioning the Philadelphia Phillies’ urge to spend. Their owner came out and said there were ready to spend, and they’ve been linked to every key player in free agency or on the trade market. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that they are interested in Corbin’s services. However, should the Phillies even go after Corbin? Philadelphia’s starting pitching ERA of 4.12 is the worst among these three teams, but the lineup is a much greater concern. Their offense ranked 22nd in runs scored and in OPS. They also have a lot of uncertainty with their position players, as only two (Rhys Hoskins, Cesar Hernandez) are locked into their respective positions next season. Harper would fit great in their weak outfield, as would Andrew McCutchen, AJ Pollock (if healthy), among others. Manny Machado would also fill a hole on the left side of the infield, but that wouldn’t fix their offensive woes. Philadelphia has to come away with atleast one of Machado and Harper as well as 2-3 middle-tier free agents. While they have enough financial flexibility to do all of that and sign Corbin, they’d be setting themselves up for “salary cap hell” in the future. They’re already are paying $75 million for Jake Arrieta for three years, and the last thing they can do is to overpay for two starting pitchers. A cheaper option in free agency such as Charlie Morton or JA Happ are a better options. The same goes for Madison Bumgarner on the trade market. They’re a serious contender to sign Corbin though; they’ll probably offer him the most money out of these three teams.
Need: 7.8/10 Fit: 8.1/10 Chance it Happens: 8.7/10
#2 Washington Nationals
The Phillies and Yankees were expected to be in on Corbin from the beginning, but the Nationals weren’t. After all, they’re already paying big money to two starting pitchers in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and are still trying to resign Harper. Still, Corbin makes perfect sense for Washington. Now, signing Corbin most likely means that they won’t be able to sign Harper, but that may be what’s best for them. Top prospect (#4 in the MLB) Victor Robles has superstar potential and is ready to make a difference. Signing Harper would block him and would prevent them from addressing their most important needs, particularly starting pitching. The Nationals’ rotation ranked 13th in the MLB with a 4.03 ERA, and that’s unacceptable considering ace Max Scherzer had a 2.53 ERA. Behind Scherzer and Strasburg, they have no one worthy of being in the rotation. Not only would Corbin fix that, he’d form the most lethal trio of starting pitchers in all of baseball with those two. It’s not ideal to pay three starting pitchers $20+ million, but Washington has so many position players (Robles, Trea Turner, Juan Soto) under cheap contracts, that they can afford to take this risk. They’re unlikely to sign Corbin; they don’t have as much financial flexibility as the other two teams. Still, there is no denying that they’re a terrific fit for him.
Need: 9/10 Fit: 9.2/10 Chance it Happens: 8/10
#1 New York Yankees
The pairing of Corbin and Yankees almost makes too much sense for it not to happen. Corbin is from Syracuse, grew up a Yankee fan, and has hinted several times that he would like to play for the Yankees. New York could also use starting pitching; they ranked 14th in starting pitching ERA. Even after acquiring James Paxton, their rotation is thin and currently is relying too much on an injury-prone pitcher in Masahiro Tanaka and an aging pitcher in CC Sabathia. While they could upgrade at first base or short stop (Didi Gregarious is out at least until the All Star break), they have one of the most lethal offenses and need to pair that and their stellar bullpen with an improved rotation. A trio of Luis Severino, Paxton, and Corbin would give the Yankees arguably the best team in baseball and would do them wonders in the playoffs. They may not even have to offer as much as other teams, considering Corbin’s preference seems to be to play for them.
Need: 8.6/10 Fit: 8.8/10 Chance it Happens: 9.4/10