“We’re not going to dilute a return for any player by adding a bad contract,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies last month, when asked about the possibility the club would include Patrick Corbin in a trade for Juan Soto, Josh Bell, or any of the available players at the trade deadline.
“That’s not where we’re at in our organization at this time,” Rizzo explained.
“We want to get the most for each and every trade that we do, so we certainly are not going to tack on anybody’s contract to anybody’s deal.”
Corbin, who’s making $23M this season, with $59M remaining on his 6-year/$140M deal, is in the third year of struggling to find the form he displayed in 2018, before signing the free agent deal, and in 2019, when he played a key role in Washington’s run to their World Series championship.
Before the deadline, Corbin had a 6.57 ERA, a 4.65 FIP, and a .326/.379/.514 line against over 22 starts and 109 2⁄3 IP on the year.
The GM in D.C. confirmed once the deadline passed, Corbin was never included in any of the talks which came up for other players, though they did end up trading Juan Soto and Josh Bell for five high-end San Diego Padres’ prospects and a big league bat.
“No, we did not put Patrick in any of the discussions, I think I made that clear to all the GMs. He was talked about in an independent deal, but it didn’t make sense for us,” Rizzo told the Junkies in last Wednesday’s visit to the show.
So Corbin remained with the Nationals, and he took the mound last night in Philadelphia for the 23rd time this season, and for the second time in the past three outings, he didn’t make it out of the first. Corbin retired two batters, and gave up five hits, two of them home runs, a pair of walks, five hits total, and six runs, before he was lifted after having thrown 43 pitches to the 10 batters he faced.
Corbin got just one swinging strike total in the outing. It was on his slider. He got eight called strikes on his sinker.
But he got just two outs, and his start left his manager wondering what they’ll do five days from now.
“Well, the last few outings have been basically the same, really,” Davey Martinez said after an 11-5 loss in Philadelphia. “He can’t finish hitters, his location, his misses. I feel bad.
“I mean he’s going out there and believe me he’s not trying to miss his location. He’s trying to get outs and he’s just not finishing hitters.”
Corbin said after he became, “the first non-opener starter to have two starts of 2/3 innings or less this season,” and the, “... first pitcher in Nationals’ history to have two starts of 2/3 innings or less in one season,” as MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato noted on Twitter, he didn’t know what to do to turn things around at this point.
“Just a frustrating night,” Corbin told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco.
“I seemed kinda lost there just trying to figure out how to go out there, compete, get outs. I don’t know. I feel bad for the guys that had to come in and finish the game. ... But just didn’t do my job tonight. I just got to try to talk to as many guys here, try to figure out how to go out there and get back to what I’ve done before.”
Martinez was asked if a move to the bullpen, or just out of the rotation at this point, might be the right thing for the southpaw.
“We’ll have some discussions,” he said. “But I’m going to talk to Patrick, and just see where he’s at, you know, mentally.
“He says all the right things. I talk to him. He’s working on different things. So we’ll see where we’re at in the next few days.”
Would a break of some sort for Corbin be the right thing to do now considering it’s just not getting better, and the frustration is obvious for everyone involved at this point.
“Honestly, I really don’t know that yet,” the fifth-year manager said. “I really don’t. I mean, his value to us is starting, right? So we want to continue to try to figure this out. But at what point, as we all sit back, you’re right, at what point do we say, ‘Hey, you know I think maybe we should just go in a different direction.’
“But I don’t want to make that decision right now. I want to talk to him. I want to see what’s going on. Seeing how he’s doing physically and mentally, and then we’ll go from there.”