The New York Yankees offseason isn’t even three days old, yet the wheels are starting to turn on the free-agent market.
Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported on Thursday that the Yankees are expected to pursue left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin in free agency this winter.
Corbin, who has spent all six of his MLB seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, is coming off of the finest season of his career with an 11-7 record, 3.15 ERA and 246 strikeouts, which ranked fifth in the majors in 2018.
It couldn’t have happened at a better time as he drove up his price tag for free agency.
The southpaw has been linked with the Yankees in the past, including last winter as New York looked for another left-handed arm to shore up the rotation. Now the need for an arm like his is even greater in the Bronx.
It’s well-known that the Yankees’ biggest weakness this season was starting pitching. With an offense that set a major-league record with 267 home runs this year, the second-half implosion of Luis Severino, the realization that Sonny Gray can’t cut it in a big market, and the inconsistencies of Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia led to New York’s downfall in the ALDS at the hands of the Boston Red Sox.
While nothing has been confirmed or reported, it can be assumed that the southpaw Sabathia and maybe even Gray will not be returning to the team next year. The book is still out on veteran lefty J.A. Happ, who performed admirably after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline, going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts with the Yankees. If he can be brought back on a team-friendly contract, it would only be logical for the Yankees to welcome him back with open arms.
Jordan Montgomery provides another left-handed option for the Yankees after the impending departure of Sabathia. However, he underwent Tommy John surgery in June and might not be back until the second half of the 2019 season.
Securing a lefty for next season will be imperative, especially if they are not able to bring back Happ. Corbin would bring a much younger arm compared to Sabathia’s or Happ’s at 29 years old, one that is trending in the right direction for a team looking for a top-end starter.
The Yankees would immediately become the favorite to sign Corbin, too, as he is a New York native who grew up “worshipping” the Yankees, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
“It would definitely be great to play there,” Corbin told Nightengale. “I grew up a Yankee fan. My whole family is Yankee fans. My mom, my dad, my grandpa, everybody. Really, every generation of my family has been Yankee fans.”