All the focus this offseason has been on the addition of a big bat for the Cardinals. It makes sense though, that being their biggest need. However, they could also use one more solid starter. A lefty would be even better. One guy that fits both of those is Patrick Corbin.
Corbin is arguably the best free agent starter on the market. He’s a two-time All-Star coming off a career year and is still under 30.
2013 – 2015
He’s had some down years over his short six-year career, but he’s also had some very good ones. In 2013 he made his first All-Star game and finished the year with a 14-8 record. That season he also threw a career-high 208.1 innings, posted a 3.41 ERA, 3.43 FIP and struck out 178 batters.
Unfortunately, he missed the entire 2014 season and only pitched 85 innings in 2015 due to injuries. It turned out to be a bigger set back than just missed time though.
When Corbin came back full time in 2016 he wasn’t the same pitcher he was three years prior. He posted career highs in ERA at 5.15, walks at 66, FIP at 4.84, WHIP at 1.561 and losses with 13. It was by far the worst year of his career, but since then he’s been on a steady upward trend.
The next season wasn’t great but it was much better than the previous. He tied his career high in wins at 14 and losses with 13. He was able to reign his ERA back in, finishing the year with a 4.03 and threw 34 more innings for a total of 189.2. His FIP came back down too at 4.08. It wasn’t the season he was looking for but it showed promise for the next season.
The promise he showed in 2017 was realized this past season too. He made his second All-Star team and came in fifth in the Cy Young vote. Over 33 starts and 200 innings Corbin went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 1.050 FIP and 246 strikeouts. 2018 was exactly the season Corbin needed in a contract year. He proved he was 100 percent back from his injury and ready to lead a pitching staff.
Why He Fits In St. Louis
The Cardinals have a good rotation for 2018 on paper, but it’s still one big piece away from being a great one. As it stands, Miles Mikolas, Carlos Martinez and Jack Flaherty would be in some order at the front of the rotation while some combination of Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright and Alex Reyes will fill the final two slots.
Those first three spots look good and there’s potential in the back end, but the latter three will probably leave some innings on the table. Wacha is prone to injury, as is Waino who’s also 37 years old and the Cards will surely want to be careful with Reyes.
There’s also not one left-handed pitcher in the bunch. Even if Luke Weaver, John Gant and Tyson Ross are thrown into the mix, they still don’t have a starter on the left side.
Not only is Patrick Corbin left-handed, he’s also proven he can handle the workload of 200 plus innings. On top of that, a fourth ace type pitcher would put the Cardinals rotation in the conversation with that of the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians.
If Mozeliak can get the more important needs, the big bat and additional bullpen help, addressed in a timely fashion, going after Corbin could be huge for their 2019 season. He’s the kind of difference-making pitcher that could add 10 or more wins by the end of the season.
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