Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported today that free agent left-hander Patrick Corbin is expected to make a decision on a destination soon, with the New York Yankees, Philadelphia’s Phillies, and the Washington Nationals interested and, “all serious, in the game with strong bids, and ... considered the favorites, though a couple others have been looking at ways to try to pull an upset.”
Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo expressed his interest openly over the weekend when he spoke with reporters at Winterfest in Nationals Park.
“He’s one of the elite starting pitchers that are on the free agent market. We have interest in him,” Rizzo said, and he also seemed to agree with Heyman’s assessment that the southpaw might make a decision sooner than later this winter.
“I think that he’s not afraid to do something early,” Rizzo explained.
“If he gets a deal that he feels comfortable with I think he will act. There’s been no timetable given by his representatives or by him.”
With Corbin in the mix, the Nationals would have an impressive top four with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, and the lefty, leaving the fifth spot open for an in-house battle if the Nats don’t pursue/add other options before Opening Day (which they likely will according to most conjecture).
Erick Fedde, the Nationals’ 2014 1st Round pick who has struggled with injury issues (to his right shoulder) last season, said on Saturday afternoon that he wants to be part of the Nats’ rotation for what he thinks is going to be a big season in D.C. in 2019.
Fedde was asked if the battle for the back end of the rotation is something he and the other starters in the organization have discussed.
“I think it’s something that goes unsaid,” the 25-year-old right-hander said.
“Everybody knows that we’re best friends and we’re rooting for each other, but we want to win a spot and I think this team is going to be special and I want to be a part of it.”
Fedde also acknowledged that it’s a big season for him in his own career.
“It’s everything,” he said.
“Especially this is a big one for me, [because] it’s maybe my last year for options. It’s a big one just to kind of prove that I belong. I’m just going to fight for everything I can, and the goal is to go out there and prove that I should be an everyday guy.”
Over 14 starts in the majors in his first two seasons in the big leagues, the right-hander has a 6.44 ERA, a 5.29 FIP, 4.11 BB/9, 8.36 K/9, and a .305/.383/.529 line against in 65 2⁄3 innings.
Fedde, who underwent Tommy John surgery the year he was drafted, struggled with a shoulder issue last season which cost him close to two months in July-September, but returned to make a few starts down the stretch.
His 2018 campaign ended in late August, when the righty dealt with a right forearm flexor strain.
His goal going into the 2019 campaign is to just stay healthy and get a full season’s worth of starts in.
“I’ve had a couple seasons now and the things I’ve been doing haven’t quite worked, so now I’m going about it in a very different manner,” Fedde said.
“Before I was maybe going for the limber and lean look, and now I’m just trying to get bigger, because I look around the clubhouse and a lot of the — especially the starting rotation — is a lot of really big dudes.
“So, I’m going to try to end up maybe looking a little bit more like them and see if I can get through this full season.”
Fedde’s trying to put on weight, and he’s added 15 pounds already, with a goal of adding 20 to get him up around 210 before Spring Training, knowing that he’ll lose some there, but he said the overall goal is to just be more durable so he can stay on the mound and go deeper into his starts.
“My thing I think it’s going deep in games,” Fedde said when asked what he took away from and wanted to improve on from the 2018 season.
“I think this year our team struggled the most just from our bullpen getting worn out. As a starter I don’t want to go just five and get out of there. I want to go six and seven and give guys days off and I think that’s what I’m looking for the most.”
In addition to his conditioning, however, Fedde said he’s focused on his approach on the hill, and throwing strikes in particular after posting 3.12 BB/9 between Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors last season.
“I think it’s more just attacking guys,” Fedde explained.
“This year was like the first time I’ve ever walked a decent amount of people probably in my life, and I think maybe just being more aggressive and guys seeing four-pitch at bats rather than seven, that’s going to get me deep in the game.”