The Yankees had enough money to sign Gerrit Cole AND Patrick Corbin. Don’t let the Twitterverse fool you.
The Yankees showed up to the rubber match on Sunday against the World Champion Nationals hoping to solve 2019 free agency target Patrick Corbin, or at least boost his pitch count.
Corbin dazzled the Yankees, throwing 75 pitches through 6.1 innings, and showing New York exactly what he could have brought to the table if Brian Cashman had extended himself and signed the lefty last offseason.
And no, there’s no good reason that making such a sacrifice would’ve prevented the Future Yankees from signing Gerrit Cole, though that’s the company line that many defenders of the front office have been parroting.
Think about it. We could’ve had two lifelong Yankees fans fronting this rotation long-term. Remember the Corbin buzz? It was real. He wears No. 46 on his gilded Nats jersey because he wants to emulate Andy Pettitte. He’s from the Syracuse area, and grew up supporting the Bombers. Entering free agency, it…well, it seemed nearly assured he’d be joining the club. His brother even rocked a Yankee hat during his best man speech at Corbin’s winter wedding.
Needless to say, it was more than a little annoying when Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenners essentially decided they didn’t want that as part of the family, and we all watched helplessly as he aided the Nats in winning Game 7 of the World Series on the road in Houston, something the Yankees failed outright to do in their multiple attempts.
Instead, New York has no money committed to their No. 2 and 3 starters beyond a shortened 2020, and chose to pay JA Happ, whose option will quite likely vest in 2021, following the league’s adjustments to the protocol.
Having Happ on the payroll is a slight discount over importing Corbin’s services, but…not by much.
Now, there’s a good chance the front office would’ve told you they couldn’t afford both Corbin and Cole, and would’ve frustratingly passed on signing up for Gerrit’s ace services if they’d taken the plunge on Washington’s lefty in 2019.
However, that explanation wouldn’t have been true. Bringing in both lifelong diehards was not only a possibility — it would’ve been fairly painless.