There has been a sense of division in terms of Yankee fan’s reactions to Patrick Corbin signing with the Nationals on Tuesday. Some saw the six-year, $140 million deal the lefty signed and breathed a sigh of relief that Brian Cashman refused to commit just one extra year for the 29-year-old. Others saw a wasted opportunity for New York to grab the pitcher they supposedly saw as their top target and complete the rotation while moving on to other needs.
Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on, there are other ripples that can be felt with the Corbin splash, to go along with more moves made around the league recently. The Mariners continued their fire sale by sending shortstop Jean Segura to the Phillies, who were seen as the Yankees’ biggest competition for coveted bats like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
The Phils struck out on Corbin (apparently holding pat at five years as well), so they still could be looking to throw “stupid money” at another free agent, but with Segura in the mix on the left side of the infield, that might not be Machado. With the Nationals committing $140 million to Corbin, perhaps a Harper return is now out the window. Yes, the team said they’d still like to bring their star back, but after Harper turned down a $300-million deal from them after the season, it’s hard to imagine they could come back with something that would entice him. Owner Mark Lerner said as much earlier this week.
So, with two of the big competitors for Harper and Machado making alternate moves, the time is now for the Yankees to capitalize and grab one of these generational talents. With Paul Goldschmidt now off to the Cardinals, another potential competitor for Harper and Machado is likely out of the running. The door is open for the Bombers, and they have to walk through it.
The Yankees have supposedly had this offseason circled on their calendar for some time now. The narrative all year was that in resetting their luxury tax rate, they would be able to waltz directly into the center of what was to become one of the most prolific free agent classes in recent memory. That time is now, and while the Yankees missed on a chance to break the bank for a quality arm that would have solidified the team’s greatest need, they don’t have to repeat the same mistake with Machado or Harper.
Take your pick between the two, but either one would put the Yanks on another level of contention. Neither is older than 26, and both have a career OPS+ over 120. The idea of Harper’s lefty bat in Yankee Stadium is mouth-watering. Machado has already shown a knack for beating up the AL East. Both will require a load of money, and that shouldn’t be an issue, especially when, you know, you’re the NEW YORK YANKEES.
The Yankees are among the richest franchises in all of sports, and in being out-bid for Corbin, they failed to flex their greatest advantage to bring in a player that would have filled an obvious hole. When it comes to either Machado or Harper, that can’t happen. The trade for James Paxton was a great step in the right direction, but failing to get Corbin shouldn’t stall that movement. While other teams are introducing their new additions to fans and the press, the Yankees should be on an all-out charge to make the biggest splash of the winter, like they did last year. After all, they are the Yankees. It’s time they acted like it.