- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Washington Nationals signed left-handed starting pitcher Patrick Corbin to a six-year contract, according to multiple reports.

The deal is worth $140 million, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported.

With the move, the Nationals added a southpaw to their two right-handed aces, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, creating what could be a lethal triple threat in the rotation.

Corbin played his whole major league career for the Arizona Diamondbacks before hitting free agency. Last year, Corbin went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 246 strikeouts. He was widely considered the most prized starting pitcher on the market. He was an NL All-Star in 2013 and 2018.

Corbin, who will turn 30 during the 2019 season, is from upstate New York and grew up a Yankees fan. The Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies were reportedly very interested in Corbin.

The Nationals had yet to confirm the signing by press time.

Despite employing Scherzer and Strasburg, the former a Cy Young Award finalist, starting pitching was an area of need for the Nationals. They traded longtime starter Gio Gonzalez to Milwaukee during the season after he took a disappointing turn. Tanner Roark went 9-15, and the unproven Erick Fedde ended up starting 11 games and posting a 5.54 ERA.

Along with Corbin, the Nationals have signed catcher Kurt Suzuki this offseason and paired him with Yan Gomes, whom they traded for last week. They also made one signing and one trade for the bullpen, inking Trevor Rosenthal and acquiring Kyle Barraclough.

Corbin becomes the fourth player on the Nationals’ payroll with a contract worth $100 million or more, along with Scherzer, Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman. That may look like enough money is tied up elsewhere to allow the Nationals to re-sign free agent star Bryce Harper, but baseball is not a salary cap sport, and managing principal owner Mark Lerner and his family may be willing to pay the luxury tax if they can sway Harper to come back.

While Washington has checked off its Christmastime wish list elsewhere on the roster, the Harper sweepstakes have taken off, and teams that want in on the slugger range from the Chicago White Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The White Sox are seen as a longshot candidate after posting consecutive seasons of 100-plus losses, while the Dodgers have reached back-to-back World Series and might attract Harper with promises of greater postseason success than Washington has had.

Reports Monday evening said that Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson was part of a group that met with Harper’s camp in Las Vegas. Johnson is also the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations, three decades after starring for them on the court, and was instrumental in finalizing a deal with LeBron James last summer.

It seemed plausible he’d try it again in the baseball world. But on Tuesday, Johnson denied meeting with Harper.

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