The pull of pitching for the Yankees, the team he grew up rooting for, wasn’t enough for Patrick Corbin. Which leaves the Yankees, who had made the 29-year-old lefthander their top free-agent target this winter, looking elsewhere for rotation reinforcements.
Corbin, 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA in 2018, agreed to a six-year, $140-million deal with the Nationals Tuesday, according to several reports. He was in town last week for a visit with the Yankees hierarchy, which included general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and some of his coaching staff. The Yankees, according to a source, made a five-year, $100-million offer but were not willing to commit to a sixth year.
The Yankees, who re-signed CC Sabathia and dealt for Seattle lefthander James Paxton, are looking to add at least one more starter and possibly two. With Corbin off the board, the Yankees will continue to try to bring back J.A. Happ. He pitched well for them after being acquired at the trade deadline and Cashman, regardless of Corbin’s decision, had an interest in signing Haap.
Nathan Eovaldi, a star this postseason with the Red Sox and a former Yankee, is a possibility, as is Lance Lynn, whom the Yankees traded for last season. Cashman has been engaged with the Indians, who are open to trading from their stable of starters that includes Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer, and those discussions are likely to continue.
Speaking earlier in the day, Yankees president Randy Levine said he hoped the attraction of pitching for the Yankees might land Corbin, 56-54 with a 3.91 ERA in six big-league seasons.
“I’m not in the prediction business because I’ve been wrong a lot of times, you never know,” Levine said, smiling. “He’s a New Yorker. Reading your stories, there may be a little family pressure, so we hope so.”
But not enough.
Could the Yankees redirect the money they might have spent on Corbin into a big offer for free agent Manny Machado or, far less likely, Bryce Harper? That can’t be ruled out.
Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner have said pitching is their offseason priority – and all indications are that it still is – but the Yankees also have been linked, as they almost always are, to the marquee free agents, in this case Machado and Harper.
Levine said he wasn’t aware of any scheduled meetings with Harper. As far as Machado’s postseason comments about hustling, the team president didn’t say they necessarily were disqualifying.
“We know he’s a great player,” Levine said, but added there are other questions the Yankees ask about a potential acquisition, and left much to those inclined to tea-leaf reading.
“Does he fit here? And then the economics, is it something on a value basis that we think is appropriate?” Levine said. “We have a great clubhouse, a great manager and coaching staff. I think players sometimes when they come here, because of the tradition of the Yankees and the way we are, things get better. But I’ll leave those baseball judgments and character judgments to Cash and to Boonie and the baseball staff.”