The Yankees might sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper this winter to boost their lineup, but the team must sign Patrick Corbin to call this winter a success.
Brian Cashman is keenly aware of the pressure being heaped onto the Yankees front office to upgrade Aaron Boone’s roster this winter. That means the Yankees must overhaul the starting rotation. Signing Patrick Corbin is an essential part of the organization’s plans.
The 29-year-old left-hander won’t necessarily be the best pitcher Cashman moves for this winter, but he is the best option available via free agency. That means the Yankees just need to offer him the best contract if they want to slot him into their 2019 rotation. The fact that he’s openly admitted his desire to play in the Bronx makes it a very simple equation for the club.
At the moment, the Yankees only have two pitchers who will almost certainly be in their rotation when next year begins. That leaves three open spots for Cashman to fill. It’s very possible the team could elect to re-sign J.A. Happ to fill one of those three spots, but that still leaves two gaps to fill.
Quite a few fans would like to see CC Sabathia end his career in pinstripes, but the organization needs more reliable options. That’s why adding Corbin is a necessity. He’s a guy who can be counted upon to pitch quality baseball for a full season. He’s started over 33 games in each of his last three seasons with the Diamondbacks. Even if he can’t replicate last year’s stellar ERA of 3.15, he still comfortably projects as an above-average starting pitcher.
It’s fair to wonder whether or not adding Corbin is enough to help catch the Red Sox. The challenge for Cashman is that he needs to improve the upside and reliability of his rotation in one offseason. Signing Corbin absolutely checks both boxes, but it still leaves the Yankees without a dominant ace to combat the likes of Chris Sale and Justin Verlander in the postseason.
That’s why signing Corbin this winter is an absolute necessity for the Yankees, but it’s not the magical solution that will cure all of the pitching staff’s ills. Adding the talented lefty is a step in the right direction, but Cashman will still have additional work to do.