Corbin, Nats agree to 6-year deal

By:Ryan Fowler

Headline Graphic Credit: Darrell Owens-LMS Network

The Washington Nationals are adding another high-caliber pitcher to their rotation, reportedly agreeing to terms on a six-year deal with free agent Patrick Corbin on Tuesday.

The deal, pending a physical, reportedly is for $140 million — significantly higher than the deal Yu Darvish signed with the Chicago Cubs last year. The Washington Post was the first to report that Corbin and the Nats had agreed to terms.

Does Corbin joining Nats signal end of Harper’s time in D.C.?

Washington reeled in a big-name free agent while the star outfielder is still on the market. Here’s what the addition of Patrick Corbin means for Bryce Harper’s chances of returning:

With Corbin now on the Nats, the NL East has had an active start to the off-season thus far: Patrick Corbin to Washington, Josh Donaldson to Atlanta, Jean Segura to Philly, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to New York.

Patrick Corbin’s hefty contract could hurt the Nationals in the long run, but GM Mike Rizzo can’t be blamed for wanting to win now. The 29-year-old Corbin, an All-Star selection in 2018, is coming off his best season, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA while logging 200 innings for the second time in his career. Relying largely on his filthy slider, the left-hander set a career high in strikeouts (246) after making his first Opening Day start for the Diamondbacks.

Corbin joins a Nationals rotation that already boasts three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and three-time All-Star Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals are banking heavily on the trio as they join the Cubs as the only teams in the majors with three pitchers having contracts in excess of $100 million. In 2019, Scherzer will be in the fifth season of a seven-year, $210 million contract signed in 2015. He has a base salary of $30 million. Strasburg is entering the third season of a seven-year, $175 million contract he signed in 2016. He has a base salary of $35 million.

After posting the fourth-best ERA (3.63) in 2017, the Nationals’ starting rotation took a step back in 2018, ranking 13th in the majors with a 4.03 ERA. Adding Corbin will surely look good on paper, giving the Nats potentially the best rotation in baseball.

Patrick Corbin in 2018


Patrick Corbin posted a number of career bests in the 2018 season for the Diamondbacks.

ERA 3.15 Best
WHIP 1.05 Best
K 246 Best
— ESPN Stats & Information

Corbin, whose deal is the second highest in Nationals history behind Scherzer, had visited with the Phillies and Yankees during free agency, but the Yankees were adamant that they would not agree to anything more than a five-year deal.

He was the second-hardest pitcher to make contact off in 2018, trailing only Blake Snell, and he had the third-best ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio (1.79) in the majors behind the Astros Dallas Keuchel (2.20) and Cubs Jake Arrieta (1.80).

The Nationals have also addressed the catcher position this offseason, trading with the Indians for All-Star Yan Gomes and signing free agent Kurt Suzuki.

Corbin missed the entire 2014 season and part of 2015 due to Tommy John Surgery, and he went 5-13 with a 5.15 ERA in 2016. He was moved to the bullpen that year. Corbin was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the second round of the 2009 amateur draft, had a 56-54 record with a 3.91 ERA in six seasons with the Diamondbacks.