The stove! It heats!
Free agent starting pitcher Patrick Corbin is in town today getting what I imagine to be the full razzle dazzle from the Phillies:
Twitter is buzzing about Patrick Corbin being in Philadelphia and at Citizens Bank Park today. Well, it is true. He is high on Phillies' wish list
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) November 27, 2018
Let’s get stupid:
Here's what part of the visit looked like.
Picture courtesy of an undercover reporter. pic.twitter.com/9ECxMo4tpi
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) November 27, 2018
The Phillies probably aren’t thrilled this picture found its way to Twitter, but now that it’s out there, they pretty much have to do the deal. Can’t have a Frank Gore/Eagles situation on our hands here.
Corbin, a two-time All-Star, posted a career-best 3.15 ERA and 2.47 FIP over 200 IP a season ago. What makes the 29-year-old left-hander particularly intriguing, however, is the dramatic jump in his strikeout numbers. His previous career-best 8.4 K/9 came in 2017, but last season that mark exploded to an 11.1 K/9. Such a jump can be mainly attributed to his increased reliance on his best pitch, the slider, which he threw a career-high 41.5% of the time a season ago.
Behold its beauty:
Patrick Corbin's Slider was doing work again last night. Here he fans Javier Baez en route to a 7K evening. pic.twitter.com/9TSrsvBlmZ
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) September 18, 2018
In fact, of any starting pitcher who threw at least 1,000 pitches a season ago, Corbin’s 50.3% breaking ball percentage was the game’s highest mark behind only Clayton Kershaw. Despite his consistent reliance on the slider, opposing hitters had little success against it, whiffing on more than half of their total swings. Remarkably, 195 of Corbin’s 246 strikeouts in 2018 came via the slider.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s pretty fucking nasty.
As for what Corbin’s presence at Citizens Bank Park means, well, they didn’t bring him in just to show him around. The Phillies have long been rumored to desire a left-handed starter that will help bring some balance to the rotation, one that is also an elite-level arm to pair with Aaron Nola. Certainly, they know Corbin, perhaps the most coveted free agent pitcher on the market, has a price tag that will likely surpass $100 million, so it’s safe to assume an aggressive offer has either been made or will be shortly.
So what would a potential Corbin deal mean on the Bryce Harper/Manny Machado front? Not much. A deal with an annual value in the range of $20-25 million wouldn’t even come close to precluding the Phillies from signing either player. It’s also quite possible such a deal would signal to Harper and Machado that the Phillies do, in fact, mean business. It’s one thing to talk about spending money and going for it, it’s another thing to do it.