There’s an old saying that “where there’s smoke there’s fire.” However, in the case of Patrick Corbin and the New York Yankees, there was nothing but smoke and mirrors. Patrick Corbin made many references to being a Yankees fan growing up, but when given a chance he decided elsewhere. And now the Yankees who stood firm on their principals of not offering more than a five-year deal to Corbin. The Yankees are now going to have to pivot and look elsewhere to round out their starting rotation and their lineup.
Posturing for the Prize
While it may have been true that Patrick Corbin grew up a Yankee fan. It bared minimal resistance against the supposed $40 Million difference in deals. It would be the offer of six years and $140 Million that would take Patrick Corbin to the Nation’s Capitol, Washington, DC. The Yankees reportedly offer five-years and $100 Million to the lefty pitcher. Corbin will fall to third in line for the Nationals behind Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
Choosing Where Now to Spend
Now the question in the Bronx becomes where to invest the money that the Yanks have to spend? A second “elite” starter is priority number one for Cashman and his team. A team that following last Thursday’s meeting with Corbin probably begin repositioning its focus. The obvious candidates to replace Corbin as the top target have been rumored to be JA Happ and Nathan Eovaldi. And while not many rumors connect him to the Yankees, besides the ones he started about his willingness to shave his beard, Dallas Keuchel also remains available.
When it comes to both Happ and Eovaldi, they are both known commodities to the New York Yankees. Both men have pitched in the Bronx, and both men have pitched in big games. And when comparing both men, they have pros and cons about them. Things are positive and some things that are negative. For Happ, he had a very good 2018 regular season where he pitched quite well against the rival Red Sox. But Happ will be pitching his 2019 season at 36 years old, and it is uncertain just how long that left arm will continue to contribute.
When it comes to Eovaldi, he has had a litany of injury issues in his past including the dreaded Tommy John Surgery. But during is 2018 campaign, Eovaldi seemed to demonstrate being fully recovered. And that was never more evident than during the longest game in World Series history when Eovaldi came out of the bullpen and pitched several innings throwing 97 pitches. So both men would provide the Yankees a solid number 3/4 type starter.
What About Investing in the Offense Instead
With Corbin off the market, many teams will transition their focus to solidifying their offenses. And the two biggest free agents we have been waiting for over the last several seasons are still available. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain on the open market. And despite a long of interest there haven’t seemed to be many closely connected to either player.
Free agency is at it’s best when you have players of the caliber of guys like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado on the open market. When teams are vying and bidding for their services. The one negative aspect of free agency is when your team gets involved in a bidding war for the services of one of these top players. Because at some point if the team desires the player as a necessity, the ballclub will undoubtedly overpay in some aspect. That may be the amount of money in the deal or the number of years that are involved.
Who to Choose?
Now for anyone that knows me or has followed this site for any amount of time, you know that I love Bryce Harper as a player. And I think that the Yankees should have him as their top priority going forward. Bryce will without question require an enormous sum of money to sign with any team. And the Yankees always have those type of funds available. The question everyone will ask if how many “BIG” money contracts can one ballclub sustain? Because Giancarlo Stanton still has a lot of money on the books. Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andújar, and Gleyber Torres are all going to need to be paid. But the Yankees have the money to be able to do just that.
Why Harper? Why not Machado?
Some may question why Harper? Why not Machado? And ultimately that question honestly comes down to preference. I prefer to have the lefty-swinging Bryce Harper over the right-handed hitting Manny Machado. I prefer the outfielder who could potentially move to first base later in his career. Then the shortstop whose better at third base.
For me, the idea of trading or replacing Miguel andújar and/or Didi Gregorius is not something I want to do. I want to keep Andújar because, despite some shortcomings currently as a defensive third baseman, the young star can truly hit. And Andújar is only won’t be 23 until June next season. And Didi is one of the better shortstops on both sides of the ball in the MLB today. Manny rates out poorly as a defensive shortstop but legendary at third base.
In choosing Bryce Harper the Yankees will have their long-term left field solution. Currently, that position will be fielded by the aging Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier. Concussions and father time are two things that can’t be prepared for. And there’s no real way to know when either will rear its ugly head. That’s why instead of moving one of two critical pieces of the Yankees to get Manny, I would choose Bryce.
What Will the Yankees Do?
What the Yankees will do remains to be seen besides being upfront about seeking pitching and getting rid of Sonny Gray. Brian Cashman has been pretty tight-lipped about the team’s offseason plans. But Sweeny Murti (of WFAN) believes the Yankees quiet nature lends itself to my hope of signing Bryce Harper. And as someone that wants this move to happen, I hope you’re right Sweeny.