NEW YORK -- The Yankees took two swings at installing Patrick Corbin as an anchor of their rotation, engaging the D-backs in substantial trade discussions last offseason, then entertaining the free agent this offseason by inviting the lefty to envision Yankee Stadium as his workplace for the next half-decade.
According to multiple reports, the Yankees offered a five-year, $100 million commitment to the 29-year-old Corbin, who made New York his final stop on a tour that also included visits with the Phillies and Nationals. Corbin decided to accept a six-year, $140 million pact with Washington, which will prompt general manager Brian Cashman to pivot in his ongoing pitching search.
Though the Yankees liked Corbin and vice versa -- the upstate New York native has spoken of his affinity for the franchise, especially childhood favorite Andy Pettitte -- Cashman made it clear that he had other irons in the fire, aiming to upgrade a rotation that he felt was exposed by the Red Sox in the American League Division Series.
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According to Cashman, the Yanks have been in contact with J.A. Happ, Nathan Eovaldi and Lance Lynn, a trio of hurlers who are familiar with the home clubhouse at Yankee Stadium, but Eovaldi has reportedly agreed to re-sign with the Red Sox. The club also has spoken with the Indians about Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber, discussions that could be renewed at the upcoming Winter Meetings now that Corbin is off the board.
In addition, free-agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel has said that "for the right opportunity, I would happily shave this beard off," though despite his durability and high ground-ball ratio, the Yankees' interest in the 31-year-old has been tepid thus far. The Seibu Lions' 27-year-old ace Yusei Kikuchi became available to big league teams on Tuesday, with the Yanks expected to be among the lefty's interested suitors.
"Part of it is having patience and discipline," Cashman said earlier this week. "We don't want to make a mistake and try to rush through this process. If it takes longer, it takes longer. Ultimately, you'd like to get something done between now and the conclusion of Vegas."
The 36-year-old Happ fielded immediate interest from the Yankees when the free-agent period began, coming off a half-season with New York in which he pitched to a 7-0 record and a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts. Happ was a combined 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 31 starts for the Yanks and Blue Jays this past season, though despite strong career numbers against Boston, he took the loss in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Lynn, 31, pitched to a 4.14 ERA in 11 games (nine starts) for the Yankees this season after being acquired from the Twins prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. On the season, Lynn was 10-10 with a 4.77 ERA in 31 games (29 starts), numbers that may have been impacted due to missing most of Spring Training because of a slow-moving free-agent market.
With last month's trade for left-hander James Paxton, the Yanks' rotation projects to be headed by right-hander Luis Severino, Paxton and right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Left-hander Carsten Sabathia signed an $8 million deal for what is expected to be his final big league season, and Cashman has spoken openly about his desire to trade right-hander Sonny Gray in advance of Opening Day.
In addition to starting pitching, Cashman is seeking to upgrade a bullpen that counts left-hander Zach Britton and right-hander Player Page for David Robertson among its potential free-agent losses (right-hander Adam Ottavino is believed to have drawn the club's interest). The Yankees are also aiming to address their middle infield in the wake of shortstop Didi Gregorius' Tommy John surgery.
Their best in-house candidate to play shortstop is Gleyber Torres, who could shift from second base, but Manny Machado remains on the radar as the Yanks have spoken with agent Dan Lozano about the superstar slugger.
Cashman said that he believes Machado's "Johnny Hustle" comments from the postseason are not as much of a concern as some might believe.
"I certainly think the narrative has been banged enough this winter since the postseason. I don't want it to become a runaway train," Cashman said on YES Network. "Regardless of wherever Manny Machado winds up, he's a great player. He's been an elite player for a long time. … I'm sure that wasn't his best moment, but it doesn't mean it's the moment that should define him, either."
In addition, outfielder Bryce Harper has not been ruled out; an in-person meeting is possible during the upcoming Winter Meetings.
"I'm heavily engaged on both trades and free agents," Cashman said. "I don't know where it's going to take us. I'm staying engaged with our owner [Hal Steinbrenner], making sure he's aware of every opportunity that is presenting itself."