Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in MLB. Friday is dedicated to left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin.
Phillies managing owner John Middleton is quoted boldly in Friday's edition of USA Today.
"We're going into this (offseason) expecting to spend money," Middleton said at the Major League Baseball owners meetings in Atlanta. "And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it."
He went on to say, "We will be spending."
It's no secret that the Phillies are pursuing the top two position players/bats on the free-agent market — Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — and they stand a solid chance to land one of them.
But the Phillies' needs go beyond offense.
They would love to come away from this offseason with a difference-making arm in the bullpen.
Ditto for the starting rotation.
And they have a specific profile of what they are looking for in the starting rotation. That brings us to today's free-agent fit: Patrick Corbin.
Corbin, 29, has blossomed into one of the top left-handers in the game in recent seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Phillies are looking to add quality to their rotation. They are also looking for a left-hander to balance out a righty-heavy rotation.
It would be surprising if the Phillies don't come away from this offseason with a lefty starter. The market is flush with free agents like J.A. Happ, Dallas Keuchel, Wade Miley and Corbin, and there are several trade candidates such as Robbie Ray and James Paxton.
The Phils are willing to part with young talent so trading for a lefty is quite possible. But the Phils are also ready to spend — as Middleton articulated — and that puts them in good stead to land someone like Happ, Keuchel or the guy we focus on, Corbin.
Corbin finished fifth in the NL Cy Young voting in 2018. He recorded a 3.15 ERA and had a 1.05 WHIP in 200 innings. He struck out 246 and walked just 48. Since the All-Star break of 2017, he has a 3.18 ERA and 329 strikeouts in 288⅓ innings.
Corbin would look really good slotted in behind Aaron Nola in the Phillies' rotation. He is expected to command a multi-year contract well in excess of $100 million and the Phillies, who have been waiting for this offseason and this free-agent class, could swing that and still sign one of the big bats.
However, they will have competition for Corbin. The pitcher was raised as a Yankees fan in upstate New York. The Yankees have made it no secret that they are looking for top-end pitching this winter and Corbin has long been rumored to be a slam dunk to be wearing pinstripes.
The navy blue pinstripes of the Bronx, not the red pinstripes of South Philadelphia.
But you never know. The Phillies want to land a high-end lefty and they like Corbin a lot. They will be in the hunt for him and maybe he will take the money that John Middleton promises to spend and those pinstripes will turn out to be red.
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