It turns out banking on a hometown discount isn’t a good way to build a team. The overhaul of the Yankees’ starting rotation hit a snag on Tuesday afternoon, as top free agent pitcher Patrick Corbin agreed to a six-year deal with the Washington Nationals. Jon Morosi had news of the Yankees missing out first, while Chelsea Janes had word of him signing with Washington.
Corbin, 29, reportedly landed a payday worth $140 million. That’s the largest contract handed out to a free agent pitcher since Johnny Cueto’s $130 million deal in 2015. The Yankees just weren’t willing to go that far.
Signing the left-hander almost felt inevitable, as the Yankees had long been interested in adding the New York native. In addition to pursuing him in free agency, the club explored a trade for him last winter. Corbin even made it sound like he wanted to pitch in pinstripes, too.
“It would definitely be great to play there,’’ Corbin told Bob Nightengale back in April. “I grew up a Yankee fan. My whole family are Yankee fans. My mom, my dad, my grandpa, everybody. Really, every generation of my family has been Yankee fans.”
As it turns out, cash goes a lot further than playing for your favorite childhood team. For what it’s worth, the Yankees have yet to add a significant starting pitcher in free agency since Masahiro Tanaka back in 2014. The team isn’t spending big on the open market, and that’s a major problem.
Now Brian Cashman and company will focus on decidedly lesser options, with Nathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ leading the pack. Mark Feinsand suggested Lance Lynn could be in play as well. None of those pitchers would live up to the elite billing Cashman desired when he started the offseason.
Pinstripe Alley will have more on this in the coming days. For now, though, this feels like another move by the suddenly-stingy Yankees. Fans shouldn’t be here for that.
UPDATE: It looks like the Yankees held firm at $100 million. They weren’t even competitive.
Yankees offer for Corbin was $100M for 5 years. had they been the choice, of course it's possible they might have gone a little bit higher, but not to 6 years.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 4, 2018