Nats land top free agent pitcher Corbin for $140 million

The Nationals have agreed to terms with left-hander Patrick Corbin on a six-year, $140 million deal, according to a club source, landing the biggest free agent pitcher on the market to go along with the already formidable (and expensive) one-two punch of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

The signing is still contingent upon Corbin passing a physical, according to the source, but once it becomes official he’ll become the first big-name free agent to sign this winter. He should provide a much-needed boost to a Nationals rotation that had elite arms at the top but plenty of questions after that.

Corbin-Winds-Dbacks-sidebar.jpgCorbin, 29, is a two-time All-Star coming off a career year for the Diamondbacks in which he went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA, 246 strikeouts and a 1.050 WHIP, finishing fifth in National League Cy Young Award voting.

He doesn’t have the track record of the more-established lefty on the market (Dallas Keuchel) but the Nationals are banking on his career now following an upward trajectory, believing this season was only the first glimpse into his full potential.

Top Nationals officials including managing principal owner Mark Lerner and general manager Mike Rizzo hosted Corbin in town last week. It was one of three known East Coast stops for Corbin, who also visited the Phillies and Yankees, and the Nats emerged from it with a positive impression.

“We had a nice discussion with him,” Rizzo said Saturday at Winterfest. “I had a personal discussion with him. He wanted to come down and see what we had down here and visit the city and the clubhouse. I thought that was a positive reaction by him. I’m not going to read too much into it. He’s a guy that, obviously, we’re interested in and would fit nicely on this team.”

Asked if he got the sense Corbin was looking to sign quickly, Rizzo replied: “I think he’s not afraid to do something early. If he gets the deal he feels comfortable with, I think he will act.”

Corbin thus becomes the third member of the Nationals’ rotation given a nine-figure contract with the club. Scherzer is entering the fifth year of his seven-year, $210 million deal. Strasburg is entering the third year of his seven-year, $175 million deal (though he has the ability to opt out at the end of each of the next two seasons).

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