Corbin Off the Board, Phillies Have Other Options
So the Phillies missed out on Patrick Corbin. It is unclear just how much money the Phillies offered Corbin, but he went to the Nationals anyway, where he reportedly had a good pre-existing relationship with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. That leaves the Phillies looking for a left-handed starter. There are a few options out there the Phillies will consider.
1. J.A. Happ
Hello, old friend. The 36 year-old Happ, who pitched for the 2008 World Champion Phillies and 2009 National League Champion Phillies, has become one of the game's more reliable left-handed arms. And, the Phillies have interest, says Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:
The Phillies are expected to turn their focus to free-agent left-hander J.A. Happ, sources told MLB.com. Happ, 36, went a combined 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA and a 3.98 FIP in 31 starts last season with the Blue Jays and Yankees. He is 47-21 with a 3.44 ERA and 3.91 FIP over the past three seasons, pitching most of his games against the American League East.
Happ reportedly is seeking a three-year deal.
Three years might be too many for a 36 year-old, but the Phillies could offer a good number on an annual basis over two that might make him want to sign with the Phillies. Maybe he will have a soft spot in his heart for the club who drafted him and gave him his first shot.
2. Madison Bumgarner
Brand new vice president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi just took the reigns of the San Francisco Giants. He hopes to build a winner for the future and the best way may be to trade left-handed ace and get some prospects that he can carry into the future. The problem with that is that the fan base likely will not be too fond of it.
But the Phillies have checked in on Bumgarner, as J.P. Morosi of MLB.com noted again today. Bumgarner would be a low-cost in terms of contract; the Giants ace is set to earn just $12 million in 2019. However, he would cost the Phillies a significant prospect or two in order to acquire him.
Though it does not solve the problem long-term, the Phillies will miss out on long-term assets that they might trade in the process. Of course, had they landed Corbin it would cost them a draft pick. Instead, the Nationals will be losing draft picks to sign Corbin.
3. Yusei Kikuchi
Kikuchi is a star left-handed pitcher from Japan who became available today. Kikuchi was 14-4 with 3.08 ERA in 2018, following a season in which he went 16-6 with a 1.97 ERA. He is often likened to a mid-rotation starter. The New York Yankees are said to be interested.
Teams have a month to negotiate with Kikuchi and the team that signs him will pay a posting fee. The last star Japanese pitcher to come to the United States was two-way player Shohei Otani. But Otani signed under different rules, due to his age. The collective bargaining agreement restricts international free agents under 25 years of age to signing within a team's international signing pool.
At 27, Kikuchi can negotiate a free agent deal, with his parent club getting a posting fee of $20 million. In 2014, the New York Yankees gave 25 year-old Masahiro Tanaka a seven year, $155 million deal. It is unclear what type of contract Kikuchi will require.
4. Dallas Keuchel
The free-agent Keuchel will get some consideration from the Phillies, reports Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports. Keuchel had some struggles this past season, with a particularly rough month of May, but Keuchel turned things around. But at age 31, what Dallas Keuchel will the team who signs him be getting?
MLB Trade Rumors expects a four-year deal for Keuchel.