Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has been very active in trade talks, but only made one trade as the Winter Meetings approach. The team acquired outfielder Aaron Hicks in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy. Cashman has reiterated that the team is most likely to make changes via trade rather than through free agency. Starting pitching is one of the Yankees top needs if they want to contend in the American League East and they witnessed their rival Boston Red Sox sign David Price to a record-breaking, seven-year deal. However, George Steinbrenner is not the owner anymore and the team has been tight on their budget.
The Yankees currently have six starters on their staff, but only one left-handed pitcher in CC Sabathia. Sabathia is a major question mark entering the 2016 season due to his inconsistency on the mound. He also missed the Wild Card game because of his alcohol problem. The Yankees could move Ivan Nova who has one year left on his contract.
One starter who could become available, is Patrick Corbin, 26, an upstate New York native, who was a Yankee fan growing up. He idolized Andy Pettitte as a child and in fact, chose number 46 because of him. Corbin was an All-Star in 2013. He was 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA in 208.1 innings in that year before missing the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, but rebounded nicely in 2015 with a 3.60 ERA in 16 starts.
The Yankees could slide Corbin into the rotation as a third starter behind Masahiro Tanaka and rising star Luis Severino. Some reasons to doubt this move would be because the American League East has proven to be a tough division to pitch in, especially for someone who has pitched in the National League his entire career. Corbin is arbitration-eligible at the end of the 2016 season. This means that the Yankees can use this as an audition year and make a decision on whether they would like to keep him for the long run.
The Diamondbacks recently agreed to terms with Zack Greinke on a six-year deal. The team has also reportedly shown interest in bringing an additional starter to the team which could make Corbin expendable. The Diamondbacks have also been interested in a closer since July, and perhaps Andrew Miller could be involved in a larger deal. There is still no indication that Corbin is readily available for trade, but the right package could convince Arizona to include him.
Last offseason, the Yankees traded for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who gave up the most hits in the National League in 2014. Eovaldi debatably was the most reliable starter that the Yankees had last year. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild was able to develop Eovaldi and make him one of the best pitchers they had. Corbin is only 26 and the Yankees should consider him if they want to upgrade their rotation and contend in a challenging division.