Washington Nationals’ General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters at the GM Meetings last month that bolstering the starting rotation was a focus this winter.
“Starting pitcher is the driver to me,” Rizzo explained, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes.
“We’ve built our clubs based on having a guy in the middle of the diamond who gives us a chance to win every day.”
Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are back and will be counted on atop the Nationals’ rotation, with Tanner Roark and then a number of young pitchers vying for spots with the big league club like Jefry Rodriguez, Erick Fedde, Joe Ross and more in the mix for 2019.
Whether through free agency or trade, however, Rizzo said that it’s an area of need as the Nationals try to build starting depth.
“We’ll keep all of our avenues open,” Rizzo said. “We recognize who [the top free agents] are, and we’ve never been afraid to step out and sign a free agent or make a trade, and that’s been our plan going forward.”
Rizzo reiterated the Nationals’ interest in adding starting pitching when he spoke to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Wednesday.
“You never have enough starting pitching,” Rizzo told Grant and Danny. “Starting pitching is the driver of winning teams, and I think it’s safe to say that we’re certainly going to go down every avenue, free agency, trade-wise, to acquire starting pitching because you can never have enough of it.”
According to a report by ESPN.com’s Buster Olney this afternoon, the Nats met with one of the top free agent starters on the market, who is currently making the rounds and meeting with interested teams.
As part of his meet-and-greet tour with teams, Patrick Corbin met with the Washington Nationals.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 28, 2018
Corbin is high on the Nats’ wish list right now. Of course, he’s high on a lot of teams’ wish lists right now. https://t.co/vVTbTAT9cM— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) November 28, 2018
Corbin, 29, and a left-hander, something the Nationals probably need after trading lefty Gio Gonzalez last summer, went (11-7) in 33 starts in Arizona in 2018, putting up a 3.15 ERA, a 2.47 FIP, 48 walks (2.76 BB/9), 246 Ks (11.07 K/9), and a .217/.270/.337 line against in 200 innings in a career-best 6.2 fWAR campaign for the Diamondbacks, who acquired the lefty from the Los Angeles Angels in a 2010 trade for Dan Haren.
MLBTraderumors.com predicted that Corbin will get something in the neighborhood of a 6-year/$129M deal in free agency this winter. MLBTR also listed the teams with which Corbin’s reportedly met already, which includes the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.
Have now confirmed Nationals did meet with Patrick Corbin on his east coast swing, according to a person familiar with these things.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) November 28, 2018