Patrick Corbin Could Be Nice Reclamation Project for Yankees


Struggling 27-year old starting pitcher Patrick Corbin fits the mold as one of Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s buy-low trade targets if the Arizona Diamondbacks decide to make him available.

General Manager Brian Cashman has done an excellent job of identifying talented, but undervalued young players around the league and acquiring them for the Yankees at a discounted rate over the past two years. Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, Aaron Hicks, and Dustin Ackley are all examples of this strategy.

While they may not all be hits, generally these are low-risk, high-reward moves, so when they pay off, you get a controllable young starter. Usually these moves are pretty under-the-radar, and no one sees them coming until the trade is more or less done. Cashman runs a tight ship in terms of rumors.

One player the Yankees have yet to be connected to publicly, but makes perfect sense for them given their short and long term needs, is Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin.

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Diamondbacks have received a lot of requests for Corbin during the lead up to the trade deadline, but they have not been moved to trade him. Arizona is also listening on fellow disappointing starting pitcher Shelby Miller, although nothing is imminent there either.

Looking at Corbin’s stat line this year, it’s not clear why he would make an attractive trade target. He has a 5.31 ERA in 120.1 innings pitched, has allowed more earned runs than any other pitcher in the National League, and has basically been replacement level in 2016 (0.1 fWAR).

Corbin does have two promising performances under his belt in his young career, however. In 2013, he looked like he might establish himself as one of the NL’s better young starters, with a 3.41 ERA and 3.43 FIP in 208.1 IP.

Unfortunately, his career was derailed by TJ surgery, causing him to miss the entire 2014 campaign and much of 2015. He was also strong down the stretch for Arizona last year, pitching to a 3.60 ERA and 3.35 FIP in 16 starts after returning in July.

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Patrick Corbin primarily relies on a mix of low-90’s four and two-seam fastballs, throwing them a combined 64.3% of the time this year. Rounding out his arsenal is a low 80’s slider (24.7%) and a changeup (10.9%).

Awarded just $2.53 million for his first year of arbitration in 2016, Corbin comes with two years of cheap control following this season. He has number two or three starter potential if he gets back on track, but admittedly he was just awful in the first half.

The wild card here is Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart. He went all-in on this season and flopped miserably. Is he going to cut his losses and trade away veterans? Stewart has said publicly he doesn’t want to sell low on Shelby Miller, whom he paid a king’s ransom for this offseason, and he might feel the same about Corbin.

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While this feels like something the Yankees might look into, ultimately there’s not enough smoke here to predict a fire. Other team’s are interested, but the Diamondbacks seem a little directionless at the moment, and could choose to neither buy nor sell at the trade deadline.