After a breakout 2018 campaign in which he tied for fourth among qualified hurlers in WAR (6.3, per FanGraphs) and ranked fifth in strikeouts (246), Patrick Corbin is now free to sign anywhere as a first-time free agent.
Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the left-hander.
Nats reportedly have agreed to six-year deal with Corbin
Dec. 4: The hottest name on the free-agent market over the past week? Patrick Corbin -- without question. The 29-year-old lefty visited three big-market clubs in the Phillies, Nationals and Yankees, spurring speculation that he could sign before the Winter Meetings, which begin Sunday in Las Vegas.
And it looks like Corbin has found his new team, agreeing to a deal with the Nats, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand is hearing the contract, which is pending a physical, will be for $140 million over six years with some money deferred.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman had reported earlier Tuesday that a "decision is expected to come soon."
Heyman noted that the Yanks, Phils and Nats made "strong bids and have to be considered the favorites." That's nothing new, given last week's meetings with Corbin as well as the clubs' rotation needs. With those three bidding against each other, there was a good chance Corbin's contract would reach nine figures -- and then some.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand also reported Tuesday that the Yankees already had engaged with backup plans -- namely Nathan Eovaldi, J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn -- in the event Corbin, who was their "top priority" among starting pitchers, heads elsewhere. General manager Brian Cashman discussed the club's pursuit of Corbin, calling him a "special talent."
Why Corbin looks like a great match for Yankees
Dec. 3: As the top starting pitcher on the open market, Patrick Corbin is a good fit for, oh, just about every team. But is one team a perfect fit for the strikeout-savvy southpaw, who made his way across the Northeast corridor by meeting with the Phillies, Nationals and Yankees last week?
In a column in which he lays out seven such matches of players and teams, MLB.com's Richard Justice sees Corbin's flirtations with the Phillies and Nationals as merely a distraction before the lefty inks with the Yankees.
"We all know how this thing is going to play out," Justice writes. "[Corbin] will not pass up an opportunity to sign with the team [he] grew up rooting for. Timing is important in these things. In this case, it's perfect."
Yankees GM Brian Cashman has made it abundantly clear that his primary objective is to improve the rotation. He's solidified things by re-signing CC Sabathia and trading for James Paxton from the Mariners. So landing Corbin, who has been linked to New York via rumors for about a year now -- remember when the Yankees tried to acquire him as part of the Brandon Drury deal last winter? -- might be the finishing touch to the rotation that allows Cashman to begin exploring other areas.
'Surprise teams' after Corbin?
Dec. 2: It's about time that the usually ubiquitous "mystery team" gets a mention this Hot Stove season. The term typically is floated by reps and reserved for free agents whose markets are barely simmering, with the intention of heating things up for their clients. That's not the case for Patrick Corbin, the top arm on the open market who made headlines recently for meeting with the Phillies, Nationals and Yankees -- three teams ready to spend and looking to address their rotations.
Nevertheless, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman writes in a story for Fancred Sports that there are "surprise teams" making a run at the left-hander: "One person in the know said there are also several 'surprise' teams in on Corbin, which loosely translated, may mean anyone but the Phillies and Yankees. We also do know about the Nats, who received a visit between Philly and New York, and the Braves and Angels -- his first team -- make sense, as well."
OK, so "surprise" and "mystery" don't exactly mean the same thing, but you get the idea: While most of the focus and buzz surrounding Corbin has been on the Phillies, Nats and Yankees, there's still a chance another club could swoop in make a big offer to bring him aboard.
As for the teams Heyman mentions, the Braves make sense, in theory, because they're targeting a front-of-the-rotation arm; but general manager Alex Anthopoulos also has indicated they may not have the funds for such a big-money, long-term investment via free agency.
The Halos indeed could be a fit, as they're constantly seeking healthy starters. While Corbin did miss all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery, he has been relatively durable since, working his way up to a career-high 200 innings last season. The fact that the Angels drafted him -- in the second round back in '09, before trading him to the D-backs in a package to land Dan Haren in '10 -- shows there's a history between the two sides, as Heyman notes.
Would the Yankees or Phillies regret giving Corbin a mega-deal?
Dec. 1: Patrick Corbin is considered the top starting pitcher on the free-agent market, and has generated tons of buzz so far this offseason. He recently made visits to Washington, Philadelphia and New York, further fueling rumors that he could land with the Nationals, Phillies or Yankees. But might the Phillies or Yankees regret it if they ink the left-hander to a large contract? NJ.com's Joe Giglio thinks so.
"With the countdown clock seemingly ticking toward a Corbin mega-deal, the 29-year-old isn't a slam-dunk ace that deserves crazy money," writes Giglio. "In fact, there's reason to be skeptical about Corbin's future and if he'll be worth anything close to the money he'll make."
Giglio argues that several factors make it unlikely that Corbin would be worth a six- or seven-year deal worth well over $100 million. He writes that age (Corbin turns 30 next season), velocity (his average fastball velocity has dipped in recent years), reliance on the slider, injury history (Tommy John surgery), and career inconsistency, among other factors, make signing Corbin to a long-term deal a mistake.
Corbin had a breakout season in 2018, posting a 3.15 ERA over 33 starts for the D-backs, striking out 31 percent of the batters he faced.
Will Corbin make his decision before Winter Meetings?
Nov. 30: The market for Patrick Corbin picked up steam this week, with the left-hander visiting the Phillies, Nationals and Yankees, and the teams involved came away convinced the free-agent left-hander will make his decision sooner rather than later. In fact, the feeling is that he'll almost certainly sign before the start of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 9, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic.
"At the pace he's going, he's the first big domino [to fall]," one exec said.
The Yanks are considered the favorites to sign Corbin, a New York native who grew up rooting for the team along with his immediate family. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal revealed Thursday that Corbin's younger brother put on a Yankees cap following his best-man speech at the 29-year-old pitcher's recent wedding and added that everyone was hoping Corbin and his wife "would be moving closer to home."
The six-year, $126 million contract Yu Darvish signed with the Cubs last offseason has been mentioned as a potential model for Corbin's next deal, but MLB.com's Jim Duquette thinks it could go much higher than that, based on the teams that are involved. In Duquette's opinion, seven years for $175 million isn't out of the question.
Could the Yankees sign Corbin and Happ, even after trading for Paxton?
Nov. 21: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said multiple times this offseason that upgrading the rotation is a priority, and the club is expected to add another starter even after re-signing CC Sabathia and trading for James Paxton. But could they bring in two more? MLB Network Radio's Steve Phillips isn't ruling it out.
Phillips thinks the Yankees could still sign Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ, which would give the club six established starters: Corbin, Happ, Paxton, Sabathia, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.
Phillips notes that Paxton has never made more than 28 starts in a season, Sabathia is 38 years old, Severino faded in the second half last year, and Tanaka has another year of wear and tear on his elbow after being diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in 2014.
The former MLB general manager argues the Yankees could benefit greatly from having six starters, allowing them to ease the burden on all six pitchers, even if they didn't necessarily use a six-man rotation all year. Phillips points to the Dodgers as an example of a team effectively working in more than five solid starters. Los Angeles had seven pitchers make at least 15 starts in 2018 -- Alex Wood, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Walker Buehler, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Is Corbin on the Nationals' radar?
Nov. 20: The Nationals addressed their hole at catcher by signing Kurt Suzuki away from the National League East division-rival Braves at the relatively low cost of $10 million for two years.
Between that move and the earlier additions of right-handers Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal to the bullpen, general manager Mike Rizzo already has solidified a couple of different areas without spending big. It appears the Nats now will hone in on their rotation, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who highlights lefties Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel as well as right-handers Nathan Eovaldi and Charlie Morton as the likeliest free-agent targets.
Washington's rotation is fronted by two of the best in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, but it drops off after that with durable veteran Tanner Roark as the only other sure thing in place. With all three of those being righties, it's possible the club would prefer a southpaw like Corbin or Keuchel to provide some variety.
Phillies considering other big names besides Harper and Machado, including Corbin
Nov. 20: The Phillies have long been connected to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but those aren't the only two big-name players they are targeting, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
Morosi reports that Philadelphia is showing interest in Patrick Corbin and Craig Kimbrel, who are considered by many to be the top available starter and closer, respectively. The Phillies are known to be seeking a left-handed starter to balance the rotation after giving just three starts to a southpaw over the past two years combined, and Corbin fits that bill.
Philadelphia had some success using a closer committee in 2018, but adding Kimbrel to the bullpen would undoubtedly make manager Gabe Kapler's job easier. If they don't land Corbin or Kimbrel, the Phillies could look to the trade market for a starter and a closer, with Morosi mentioning the D-backs' Zack Greinke and the Mariners' Edwin Diaz as potential options.
A source told Morosi the D-backs are confident they won't need to include cash to move Greinke, who is owed more than $90 million over the next three years. The Phils have the payroll space to take on the entire deal.
After dealing James Paxton to the Yankees on Monday, the Mariners haven't ruled out trading Diaz, according to Morosi. The right-hander, who is under control for four more seasons, saved 57 games in 2018.