The last thing Patrick Corbin saw upon leaving Yankee Stadium early Thursday afternoon was two Post employees attempting to stop his hired ride for a brief chat before it rolled onto River Avenue.
Welcome to New York, which, if the left-handed free agent signs with the Yankees, will become the 29-year-old Corbin’s home for likely five years.
Corbin was in The Bronx to meet with the Yankee brass, a group that included manager Aaron Boone, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, bullpen coach Mike Harkey and analytical guru Zac Fieroh.
Asked on the way back from a lunch run if he was at liberty to discuss Corbin, Boone politely said he wasn’t.
Corbin’s visit wasn’t limited to the Stadium, as he was scheduled to have dinner with Yankee decision-makers Thursday evening.
“We’re in the middle of certainly a very active winter, whether it’s trade or free agents, and in some cases free agents want to come visit. So Patrick Corbin is here at Yankee Stadium and in New York today,” general manager Brian Cashman said on YES. “I wouldn’t call it a recruiting effort as much as an educational effort, where [he’s] getting a chance to see the facilities from the home side, because clearly he’s played here as a visitor and he certainly has traveled to New York as a visitor. He’ll get access to all aspects of what we’re about, the brand, our efforts, the people, with Aaron Boone and our coaches and myself and hopefully he’ll walk away getting a better feel for who we are.
“He’s obviously on a journey of decisions with his family that eventually will conclude a new landing spot probably — I can’t rule out, who knows if Arizona is still in on the situation or not? We’ll see.”
CC Sabathia was at the Stadium rehabbing his surgically repaired knee and bumped into Corbin, with the two lefty starters exchanging hellos.
Thursday was the third straight day of Corbin’s Northeast Corridor Tour. Tuesday he met with the Phillies. Wednesday it was the Nationals. Because Corbin, a native of Clay, N.Y. — a Syracuse suburb — was a Yankees fan growing up, many have speculated he would head to The Bronx the minute he hit free agency. The Yankees have heavily scouted Corbin the past few years and talked to the Diamondbacks several times about acquiring him via trade.
However, the Phillies have a pile of money burning holes in their deep pockets and a need for at least one starter and maybe two — even if they sign free-agent infielder Manny Machado. The Nationals made a $300 million offer to Bryce Harper that the free-agent outfielder rejected. Harper and the Nationals could circle back and get a deal done, but if they don’t, the club will have plenty of cash to pay Corbin, who industry voices believe will command a five-year deal in the $100 million to $120 million range.
Corbin is 56-54 with a 3.91 ERA in 172 big-league games (152 starts) and produced a very strong walk-year season in 2018, when he posted an 11-7 record with a 3.15 ERA in 33 starts, whiffed 246 in 200 innings, was an All-Star and finished fifth in the NL Cy Young race.
While Sabathia doesn’t know Corbin well and only spoke briefly to him, the veteran hurler is jazzed about the Yankees courting a high-profile free agent after re-signing him and acquiring James Paxton from the Mariners.
“It is just exciting, that is why you play for the Yankees. You get a chance to win,’’ Sabathia told The Post as he idled at a traffic light on River Avenue. “Obviously, you never have too much pitching. With the offense we have, they do what they do, and having good pitching, it’s exciting.’’
If Corbin signs with the Yankees, there isn’t a rotation spot open for free agent J.A. Happ, because Corbin would be joining Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Paxton and Sabathia. Technically, Sonny Gray is still a Yankee, but Cashman has been very clear about his desire to deal the right-hander before the start of the 2019 season.
Happ was 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Yankees after being acquired from the Blue Jays in late July. The 36-year-old Happ combined for a 17-6 record and 3.65 in 31 starts between the Blue Jays and Yankees and was an All-Star for the first time.