The Nationals have signed free agent starter Patrick Corbin to a six-year contract, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports that the total value of the contract is $140 million. The Phillies and Yankees were also in heavy pursuit of the lefty.
Corbin, 29, had the best season of his career in 2018, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA and a 246/48 K/BB ratio in 200 innings. Across his six-year career, he owns a 3.91 ERA and an adjusted ERA (ERA+) of 109 (100 is average).
As Corbin rejected a qualifying offer, the D-Backs will receive a compensatory pick at the end of the first round in the 2019 draft. The Nationals will forfeit their second- and fifth-highest picks as well as $1 million from their international bonus pool.
Corbin will slot into the Nationals’ rotation behind Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. This certainly makes the NL East even more interesting. The Braves have already done some upgrading, signing Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann. The Phillies just acquired Jean Segura from the Mariners and are expected to be big players for Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper. The Mets just added Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz. The NL East could be the best division in baseball in 2019.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported last night that Major League Baseball is “actively pursuing an additional medical lab site to increase the speed and efficiency” of MLB COVID-19 tests.
The current setup — as planned by MLB and approved by the MLBPA as a part of the plan to play the 2020 season — is for all MLB COVID-19 tests to be sent to and processed by MLB’s PED testing lab in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you likely heard, there have been delays in the administration of COVID-19 tests and in the shipping of tests to Utah, but to date no one has reported that the lab itself has not been able to handle the tests once they’ve arrived there. If MLB is looking for a second lab site a week into this process, it suggests that their plans for the Utah lab might not be working the way they had anticipated.
The issues with testing have created unease around the game in recent days, with some players and team executives speaking out against Major League Baseball’s handling of the plan in the early going. Commissioner Rob Manfred, meanwhile, has responded defensively to the criticism.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported this morning that, months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States still lacks testing capacity. From the report:
Lines for coronavirus tests have stretched around city blocks and tests ran out altogether in at least one site on Monday, new evidence that the country is still struggling to create a sufficient testing system months into its battle with Covid-19 . . .“It’s terrifying, and clearly an evidence of a failure of the system,” said Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital . . . in recent weeks, as cases have surged in many states, the demand for testing has soared, surpassing capacity and creating a new testing crisis.
It’s less than obvious, to say the least, how Major League Baseball plans to expand capacity for MLB COVID-19 tests while America as a whole is experiencing “a new testing crisis” and a “failure of the system.” At the very least it’s less than obvious how, even if Major League Baseball can do so, it can do so ethically.