With Patrick Corbin in the Bronx on Thursday, the third and seemingly final leg of Corbin Acela's tour, the Yankees will be entertaining the perfect time to appeal to Friedman's financial wisdom.
Not Milton Friedman, the late economist who had once taken part in a breakfast with Yogi Berra – Yogi congratulated him for his consistency much more coherent than Casey Stengel – but rather Andrew Friedman, president of the Dodgers' baseball operations, who guided his club two consecutive pennants of the National League.
"If you're still rational about every free agent," Friedman told The Los Angeles Times' Andy McCullough in December 2016, "you'll finish third on every free agent."
The Yankees have reached this stage, a solid core and wage flexibility, thanks to a rationally rational to irrational ratio covering their recent baseball operations. However, the time has come to behave irrationally, if necessary. And Corbin is the unlikely recipient of such a risky generosity.
If Corbin will not join his favorite childhood team for a contract of less than six years, the Yankees should abandon him and give him six years (and probably $ 130 million).
Maybe they can do it with five years and $ 110 million, or five years and an acquisition option for 2024. As Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic pointed out, the Nationals, who hosted Corbin, hailed from of New York, at his first stop of his tour is. Coastal suitors are deemed to defer payments in their long-term contracts, and the $ 75 million deal signed by the Phillies with Jake Arrieta earlier this year bears witness to Philadelphia's preference for shorter contracts with launchers.
Or maybe the Nats, whose initial lack of depth in pitching allowed the Braves to cross them in the east of the NL, imagine that they might just as well be more aggressive with Corbin when passing from the Bryce Harper era. And Phillies managing partner, John Middleton, could he launch his era of "stupid" spending, as he recently said in USA Today, making Corbin a new lure for Harper or Manny Machado?
The Yankees can no longer afford to be pragmatic. With Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks approaching their years of walking in 2019, their youth movement has already reached puberty. And to thwart the Red Sox and Astros, the last two champions who have both eliminated the Yankees en route for their parade, they need the largest number of possible start shots.
They performed a huge opening salvo in trading for James Paxton, who both has a higher cap than JA Happ (the free agent that the Yankees had interest in signing again) and will most likely win less than Happ. This favorable exchange rate should make the Yankees even more confident as they turn to Corbin, who would team up with Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia to give the Yankees a mighty five front.
Of course, Corbin would come with questions. He has already undergone surgery at Tommy John and is heavily relying on an erasure cursor. He planted in the disproportionate northwest of NL, which offered tapestries like the Giants and Padres (although the 2019 Orioles seem to be pretty awful by themselves).
Yet, it represents the best option available, by far, at some point, the Yankees must aim for this goal, after taking advantage of other recent opportunities. They passed on Chris Sale two years ago because they did not think they were ready for such a finish, and Sale now owns a ring with the Red Sox. They left Justin Verlander to visit the Astros in August 2017 out of deference for their plan to go below the luxury tax threshold in 2018 – even though Giancarlo Stanton, under a similar luxury tax number, is not going to be able to pay the price. is found in the team in 18 – and Verlander has his ring. And they saw the Astros trade against Gerrit Cole earlier this year because they would not trade Miguel Andujar against the Pirates.
The calls Sale and Cole are forgivable (the White Sox wanted Luis Severino and another big piece for Dirty), the Verlander less. Letting Corbin go because of a stubborn rationality would go hand in hand with Verlander's call.
The Yankees finished second in their division in the last two years and four of the last five. They held a fourth place in 2016. If they want to finally get back to the penthouse, they can not finish second – or forbidden, third – on Corbin. Just for this time, irrationality should reign.