Patrick Corbin signs with the Nationals
According to reports on the radio and scattered across the Internet and social media right now, Corbin will sign a six year deal for $140 million. He’ll be getting $23.3 million a year.
INITIAL THOUGHTS - I am still not used to the Yankees getting outbid on a player they covet. It seems the Yankees refused to go to six years for Corbin. They stopped at five years. One early report says they offered “only” $100 million for the five years (see Tweet below).
Are the Yankees being smart or cheap? I don’t know.
I’m an “old-school” Yankees free agent thinker. They wanted Catfish Hunter. They got Catfish Hunter. They wanted Reggie Jackson, they got Reggie Jackson. They wanted Goose Gossage…they got him. There was a time (that exists somewhat in myth because this wasn’t 100% true, always) when it seemed the Yankees would not get outbid on a quality player who they felt would improve the team. It is certainly true that they did land a lot of the big stars.
Those were fun times to be a Yankees fan.
I’m not used to this new approach where they hope to convince a big time player to take less in money, years, or both to play in the Bronx. “We’ll offer you forty million fewer dollars, but we’re the Yankees!” This is an approach that doesn’t seem to be working. The Yankees won a couple of World Series with Reggie and Catfish and one with the Goose. In 2009, they went out and acquired Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and won a World Series. They haven’t been spending as freely since then - especially the last few years. Oh, they also haven’t been winning World Series. They haven’t even gotten to the World Series…
I don’t know, maybe I’m thinking about this differently, but it seems the Yankees lost out on Corbin over one extra year or and extra 6.6 million dollars over each of five years. I have to wonder if a World Championship or two would cover that difference. I think it would. The Yankees would definitely be a stronger team today if Patrick Corbin was in the starting rotation.
The Yankees’ window to be great is right now. Right this minute. This is the time they need to be great. The window is open now. They also have to compete against the World Champion Red Sox who are also in their division. The Red Sox, the team that outspent every other MLB team in 2018. The Red Sox, the World Champs. The Red Sox don’t seem to be bothered by spending as much money as necessary in order to win. The Yankees don’t seem, as it looks right now, to have that same approach. I don’t think the Red Sox can be overtaken by playing a game that involves an approach that lets money get in the way of decisions that will help the club. The Red Sox aren’t going to be overtaken by a team that is refusing to push the envelope. I don’t think we’ll see the Red Sox failing to acquire the talent that they target right now. The Red Sox seem to be content with having the highest payroll. Again, they’re also the World Champs who stand directly in the way of the Yankees once again getting to that coveted spot.
BUT… all that being said, I’m not going to get down on the Yankees. At least not yet, because there is plenty of off-season yet to play out. The juty is out on what this loss means.
If the Yankees address the starting rotation in another way - by trading for an ace like Madison Bumgarner or Corey Kluber… then they’ll still have a fantastic rotation. There is still hope there. BUT, the downside with that apporach is that in order to get an ace such as this, they’ll have to part with a lot of talent. The Yankees deep farm syatem, which has already taken quite a hit the last few years will lose that much more talent. Also, if trading for Kluber or Bumgarner (or a similar pitcher) involves giving up Miguel Andujar or Gleyber Torres, then I’ll be very upset. This would be very bad thinking. Very bad. It would be the wrong approach. In that situation - the loss of a premier young talent in order to improve the rotation - the cost would actually be more in terms of the impact on the team than what Patrick Corbin would have cost. I am of the thought that if it’s only money, and if we’re talking about the New York Yankees, then I’d rather spend the money and keep the prospects than to grab a different player and lose a collection of high-end talent. At least that would be true here in regard to Andujar and/or Torres.
On the other hand, losing either Andujar or Torres would almost require the Yankees to sign Manny Machado. In the end, Machado and Kluber (for example) would be better than Andujar and Corbin, for example. This, though is a risky way to build a team. That’s a lot of moving parts. It seems that Corbin would have just involved spending a little more money annually and going the sixth year.
Also, if this loss of Corbin results in the Yankees acquiring Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado, in other words, if the Yankees take the dollars they would have spent on Corbin and invest that money in the other premier talent, I will be okay with the fact that they lost out on Corbin. The Yankees need to think BIG here. The times is now for the Yankees to be…the Yankees.
But, if the Yankees fail to get any of the big name talent, if the Yankees continue to come up short on all these players, then we’ll know, absolutely and positively, that their main goal is saving money - not in putting the best possible team out there. This would be something that we, as their fans, would have to face. We’d see clearly that the mission statement is not to win above anything else.
Right now it doesn’t feel good to lose out on the one player who seemed like a sure thing this off-season. The Yankees still need another starting pitcher. They let a good one, a lefty to boot, get away. The Yankees let a sixth year get in the way of adding a huge player to the team. If this allows them to build the team in another way, by getting Harper and/or Machado, it might make sense.
I think, right now, the Yankees just made their fan base very wary of their ultimate motives.
Now it’s time for the Yankees to show their fans that they mean business.
No more excuses…get the big players now. The fans have been waiting far too long. Far too long.
The jury is out on all of this… but that jury won’t be out for long.
We’ll see over the next few weeks what Yankees ultimate objective is.
I know this, they aren’t going to catch the Red Sox by putting limits on their ability acquire the top talent that is out there right now.