The Yankees have zeroed in on starting pitching over the last week. Word around the Winter Meetings connected the team to several targets, including Gerrit Cole and Michael Fulmer. The club even brought CC Sabathia back to shore up the rotation. Brian Cashman isn’t done yet, though. According to Buster Olney, the Yankees have begun to scout Diamondbacks left-hander Patrick Corbin.
The 28-year-old southpaw represents an interesting target for the Bombers. On the positive side, he’s a left-hander fresh off a strong 2017 campaign. He pitched to a 4.03 ERA with a 4.08 FIP over 189.2 innings. Those numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but Corbin posted strong peripherals. His 8.45 K/9 mark made for the best mark of his career. He also had a strong 50.4% groundball rate that would surely play at Yankee Stadium. It’s safe to say that he had a stronger season than the numbers suggest.
Corbin also has a deep repertoire. He works primarily with a low-90’s fourseam fastball and a wipeout slider that sits in the low-80’s. He regularly works in a sinker, as well. Plus, his changeup is a legitimate weapon. That and the slider are his true out pitches. Brooks Baseball occasionally picks up a cutter, but that’s essentially a non-existent option for Corbin. Nonetheless, the southpaw has four offerings that he goes to regularly. That’s always good and it would fit in nicely with the Yankees’ rotation.
On the downside, Corbin has a roller coaster of a history. He missed the entirety of the 2014 season following Tommy John surgery. That limited him to just 85 innings in 2015. He also struggled to eat innings or pitch effectively in 2016. His 5.15 ERA over 155.2 innings sat towards the bottom of the National League leaderboard. Inconsistency has marked the last several years of his career.
He also has only one year of control remaining. Corbin will hit free agency following the 2018 season. Per MLB Trade Rumors, he projects to earn $8.3 million on the year. He wont cost the Yankees a ton in terms of financial commitments, which bodes well for the luxury tax situation. That said, he would only be a stopgap solution. In that case, longer term options such as Cole and Fulmer appear more attractive.
Right now it seems that the Yankees are primarily in information gathering mode. They’re collecting scouting reports and doing digging on Corbin’s background. Nothing suggests a deal is imminent. That said, their interest makes sense. He’s a fine pitcher and likely represents an upgrade at the back end of the rotation. In all likelihood, adding Corbin wouldn’t break the prospect bank either. There’s a lot to like here.
Do you think the Yankees should further pursue Corbin? Or would you prefer other options? Let us know in the comment section.