Nationals, free agent Patrick Corbin agree to massive six-year deal: Things to know
A two-time All-Star, Corbin was 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 246 strikeouts in 200 innings last season for the Diamondbacks. He finished fifth in NL Cy Young voting and it was a very strong field.
Still, the Nationals take the W here and get their man. Here are a four more things to know:
1. The Nationals’ rotation is loaded*
The Nationals now have elite-level ace Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg — who is as talented as anyone — and Corbin as their top three. In 2015-16, Joe Ross pitched to a 3.52 ERA (118 ERA+) in his first two career seasons, but hasn’t been healthy since. He made just three starts last year in his return from Tommy John surgery. In 2019, he should be back to his old self and that’s a fine No. 4. Tanner Roark finished 10th in Cy Young voting in 2016, but he’s been mostly average since. Still, average production from a number five who gave them 180 innings in each of the past two seasons is more than fine.
Of course, there’s the asterisk. I already mentioned Ross’ injury history. Strasburg has only made 30 starts in a season twice, last in 2014. He managed 22 last year. Corbin has a Tommy John surgery in his past, too.
2. The NL East is shaping up to be loaded*
*except for the Marlins
The Braves just won the division and already figured to be even better Josh Donaldson. They’re a legitimate contender. The Nationals might lose Bryce Harper, but they have the aforementioned rotation along with Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Juan Soto and Victor Robles. Sean Doolittle anchors the bullpen. Plus, if they were hoping to pay what it took to re-up with Harper, there’s still more money to spend for, say, a second baseman. The Mets just Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz and surely they aren’t done being aggressive this offseason.
We’ll get to the Phillies …
3. The Phillies lose out
We’ve heard the Phillies were going to spend a ton, even to the point of being “stupid,” straight from the owners. They lose here, but lots of big names remain on the market, so while the Phillies lose here, other free agents stand to gain with the Phillies possibly now being even more aggressive after missing on Corbin. Maybe they just go nuts and legitimately try for both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
They aren’t going to strikeout. It’s just a matter of what they hit.
4. The Next tier of pitchers should be ecstatic
The market last offseason was depressed compared to where many thought it would be in free agency. Corbin getting $140 million over six years doesn’t have that feel. Three big-money teams were in on him to the end, too. Two of them missed out, meaning they have money to spend and are likely still motivated to spend on pitching.
The next-best left-hander is Dallas Keuchel. He can probably hope for a pretty big deal, even if not in Corbin’s range. J.A. Happ is also out there, though at age 36 he won’t get nearly this length of commitment. He’s still in for a high annual salary. Nathan Eovaldi and Charlie Morton can also likely expect some juicy offers.
It was a good day for Corbin and the Nationals, but it’s soon to be pretty good for the rest of these free agent pitchers and the Phillies.