UPDATE: 4:26p.m. ET
Well, everything you would read below turned out to be a lot of stuff and nonsense.
The Washington Nationals have reportedly signed the left-hander to a six-year, $140 million deal, seemingly acing the Phillies and Nationals out of the competition.
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
The Phillies, like New York, were not ready to go to six years for the 29-year-old.
Phillies, like yankees, offered 5-year deal for Corbin— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 4, 2018
Despite earlier reports that the team would not be “out-bid,” they apparently were.
J.A. Happ, Charlie Morton, and Dallas Keuchel are among the other free agent starters the team could pursue.
The Phillies apparently want free agent starting pitcher Patrick Corbin really, really, really badly.
Just a week after bringing him to Philadelphia for a meeting with the team, reports are the Phils are deadly serious about adding the 29-year-old left-hander.
The #Phillies are making it clear to marquee free-agent starter Patrick Corbin that they won't be out-bid, and teams still in the hunt for Corbin's services realize it, too.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 4, 2018
In other words, if Corbin is dead set on playing for the New York Yankees, he’s going to have to take less money to do so.
Patrick Corbin will receive a 6-year contract worth at least $125 million, several executives with knowledge of his pursuit believe. The unknown is whether Corbin would take a discount to join his hometown #Yankees. Decision is expected this week.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 4, 2018
One could argue about the wisdom of giving Corbin a six-year deal, but when you consider the alternatives, it’s not so crazy.
First, unless the Phillies were trading for Noah Syndergaard or a younger pitcher with years of control left, it makes more sense for the team to sign the best free agent starter on the market rather than make a trade for a high-priced veteran while giving up prospects in the process.
Second, if one is worried about having an aging starter under contract, then Corbin actually makes more sense than J.A. Happ or Charlie Morton.
Happ is 36 and is looking for a three-year deal that he will probably get. That would take him through his age 38 season. Charlie Morton is 35 and will probably get at least a two-year deal that would take him through his age 37 season.
Next year will be Corbin’s age-29 season. The sixth year of a deal would be his age-34 season, younger than Happ or Morton are right now.
Sure, the back-end of the deal could turn out to be dead money. After all, when the Phillies signed Cliff Lee to a five-year, $125 million deal, they essentially got nothing out of the last two years. But is that necessarily a horrible thing?
In theory it all balances out. For example Cliff Lee got 5/$120M from the Phillies. The last two years of it he put up 81.1 IP and 0.9 WAR. The first 3, 19.6 WAR. So 20.5 WAR over the 5 years, so like ~$6M a WAR which is a bargain on the free agent market. https://t.co/80A5jWrT6k— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) December 4, 2018
The biggest argument against Corbin is that he’s only had one season of elite performance. He had a 3.15 ERA and 2.47 FIP last season, pitching 200.0 innings and piling up 246 strikeouts and 48 walks, worth 4.8 bWAR. He was an All-Star in 2013, but missed all of 2014 and some of ‘15 due to Tommy John surgery. In the two years that followed he posted an ERA of 5.15 and 4.03 with a K/9 of 6.8 and 8.4, respectively.
The addition of a much slower slider/curveball to his harder slider made him incredibly hard to hit last season and the hope is that his new repertoire will make him an effective starter as his velocity decreases over time. Hopefully, that would be for at least the first four seasons of a six-year deal.
Whatever we think about Corbin, it’s clear the Phillies desperately want him and are making it clear that, if he doesn’t end up in Philadelphia, it won’t be because the Phils didn’t do everything in their power to land him.