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Report: Nationals sign Patrick Corbin to six-year, $140 million deal

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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.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.