Patrick Corbin was the subject of some trade discussions this winter, as ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (subscription required) reports that the Nationals had talks with other teams about the veteran left-hander. It isn’t clear whether the Nats initiated these talks or if other teams were exploring Corbin’s availability, or if any of these discussions were anything beyond standard offseason “checking-in” types of conversations. It could be that teams were trying to buy low on Corbin in the wake of a down year that saw him post a 4.66 ERA, 20.3% strikeout rate, and a career-low 90.2 mph average fastball velocity over 65 2/3 innings. Between 2020’s shortened season and Corbin’s stint on the COVID-related injury list this April, it makes it hard to gauge whether or not Corbin’s struggles last year and in the early days of the 2021 season are truly due to a decline.
Trading Corbin would have been quite the pivot for a Washington team that planned on contending in 2021. It’s possible the Nats could have looked to add Major League-ready pieces rather than prospects in any Corbin deal, or perhaps moved the southpaw for a comparably high-priced proven veteran. Corbin is owed $106MM from 2021-24 in the four remaining seasons of his original six-year, $140MM free agent deal from the 2018-19 offseason. The topic of a Corbin trade could be worth revisiting of the Nationals don’t get into the playoff race and become sellers at the trade deadline, though Corbin’s contract would seemingly make him one of the less-likely Nats players to be dealt, considering how D.C. has so many rental players available.
More pitching-related items…
- Jake Odorizzi is being examined today after having to leave yesterday’s game after just five pitches. More will be known when tests are complete, but Astros GM James Click gave an optimistic view on the injury during an interview on the team’s pregame radio show today (hat tip to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle). “The initial read yesterday was more of a muscle cramp in the pronator muscle, which is not the flexor mass,” Click said.
- The Cubs announced that Ryan Tepera’s three-game suspension was reduced to two games on appeal, and the right-hander will begin serving his suspension today. Tepera’s suspension was issued earlier this month after an incident that saw Tepera throw behind the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff.
- We’ll conclude this edition of Pitching Notes with an item on…an outfielder, sort of. Shohei Ohtani played an inning of left field, moving from DH to the grass at the end of the Angels’ 16-2 loss to the Astros yesterday. As Angels manager Joe Maddon told MLB.com’s Daniel Guerrero and other reporters, the move was made “out of necessity” due to a short-handed bench and outfielder Anthony Bemboom getting called to the mound for an inning of mop-up duty. There has often been speculation that Ohtani could be deployed in the outfield as a way of keeping him in the lineup and opening up Anaheim’s DH spot, but Maddon stressed that using Ohtani as a position player is “not part of the plans” going forward. Maddon did note, however, that Ohtani “is such a great athlete…I’m telling you he could do it.”