Patrick Corbin rumors: Top free agent starter meets with Phillies and Nationals, reportedly has visit scheduled with Yankees

Left-hander Patrick Corbin unsurprisingly has been getting a lot of interest during his free agency this offseason. The 29-year-old is widely considered to be the top starter on the free-agent market. On Tuesday, Jon Heyman of Fancred reported that the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees are seen as the favorites for Corbin, "but they are not alone in this chase." That apparently includes the Washington Nationals, who also met with Corbin this week:

Corbin will reportedly be in New York on Thursday to meet with the Yankees:

On Monday, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Phillies are ready to sign multiple free agents before Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado make a decision. Corbin was among the list of players mentioned in the report. On Tuesday, it was confirmed that Corbin met with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and Philly fans were abuzz on Twitter with one of the top free agents in town.  

Corbin has pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks since 2012, his first year in the majors. In 2018, he went 11-7 across 33 starts, recording a 3.15 ERA, throwing 246 strikeouts, and making his second career All-Star team. He finished fifth in the AL Cy Young voting.

Corbin generates ground balls at an impressive rate (48.9 percent rate for his career) and kept home runs to a minimum in 2018 (15), which had been an issue in the previous two seasons. In 2018, opponents missed on 53.9 percent of their swings against Corbin's slider as he went to a breaking ball-heavy approach.

Corbin won't turn 30 until next July and, after his most impressive season as a big leaguer, he's believed to be on the verge of performing at his peak for an extended period of time. This puts him ahead of other left-handed free-agent pitchers like Dallas Keuchel and J.A. Happ, who are both older. Corbin might be on the same level as someone like Nathan Eovaldi, but Eovaldi has only just pitched his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Corbin, who also underwent the procedure, is nearly five years removed from Tommy John.

The Yankees also could take at look into trying to trade for the Cleveland Indians' Corey Kluber or the San Francisco Giants' Madison Bumgarner, but it's hard to choose those two over Corbin. While Corbin's not quite yet a household name like Kluber or Bumgarner, he is a young, reliable starter. And that's just hard to find on the free-agent market, making him incredibly valuable to a playoff team. 

Now compare Corbin to James Paxton, the newest addition to the Yankees' rotation. Corbin holds the advantage over Paxton, who the Yankees acquired last week, in a few key categories: 200 IP (Corbin) vs. 160.1 (Paxton) and 15 home runs allowed for Corbin vs. 23 for Paxton. Corbin's 2018 production ranks him at the top of the Yankees current rotation of CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Paxton.

Corbin's expected contract value has been projected anywhere from five-years, $90 million to six-years, $129 million. It's highly likely that he'll land somewhere in the nine-digit range over multiple seasons. 

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