If you bat .336 on the season, you’d be an MVP candidate

In 2022, Luis Arraez hit .316 for the season and won the AL Batting Crown. He was an All-Star, an MVP candidate, and a Silver Slugger. He repeated all of that in 2023 for the Marlins in the NL. In his career, Arraez has a .325 batting average. What would the opposite be if a pitcher was giving up over a .325 batting average to the other team? You wouldn’t believe that is possible — yet it is. Patrick Corbin‘s batting average given up this season stands at .336. He is the only qualified pitcher who has surpassed Arraez’s career average. Any other starters who were that bad have been DFA’d or optioned back to the minors. On top of that, Corbin has the worst ERA and WHIP at 6.29 and 1.770 respectively.

It was over a long time ago with Corbin, but it didn’t matter much since the team was in a rebuild, and he was being paid $23.33 million a year under his long-term contract. Does it matter now? Not so much, but if this really is a transitional type of 2011 season as a final dress rehearsal before the real show in 2025, then why not see what DJ Herz or Jackson Rutledge can do before Cade Cavalli and Josiah Gray prove they are ready. Corbin can be moved to the bullpen or DFA’d. Certainly there is a spot Corbin could take in place of Tanner Rainey who should pass through waivers if DFA’d.

This is the final season of Corbin’s six-year contract that began in 2019. Baseball is all about averages. ERA is an acronym for earned-run-average. When you have a 6.29 it means that on average you will give up over 4-runs every time you pitch 6.0 innings. Sometimes 4-runs will be 3-runs and sometimes 5-runs. But on average — IT’S AWFUL. Last night was the 11th time Corbin has served up 7-runs or more in a start since 2020 with only Jordan Lyles surpassing Corbin’s mark — and where is Lyles? He signed a bad contract last year with the Royals that expires this year. They stuck him in the bullpen, and he’s actually been useful with a 0.00 ERA.

This isn’t a one-time thing with Corbin giving up 6-runs or more in a start. This has been years of this Groundhog Day. That photo above has been seen exactly 114 times since the 2020 season. Okay, Corbin has pitched 46 very good starts of the 115 times he has pitched since 2020. So there have been 69 starts that Corbin walked off the mound with his head down. And every postgame interview with the lefty sounds the same just like the radio that wakes up Phil Connors (Bill Murray) at 6:00 AM with the message, “Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.”

It’s cold out there every time another Corbin start goes into the loss column, and we dive into the ice bath. He led the Majors in the most losses in 2021, 2022, and 2023. This is the definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. This doesn’t mean that Corbin can’t pitch a game that results in a win. But it isn’t enough.

There are other options. Nobody is saying that Herz or Rutledge can pitch any better than Corbin, just that now is the time to pass the baton. But his manager, Dave Martinez, already said last night that he is handing Corbin the ball again to start on Monday in Atlanta.

“I can’t say anything bad about the guy. Since I’ve been here, he’s been that guy that works hard. Now he’s kind of the quiet leader in the clubhouse. He does everything we ask him to do. He’s going to take the ball. He never wants to come out of the game, ever. Hopefully, he puts this one behind him and gets ready in five days and gets ready to go again.”

— Martinez said after last night’s game

We get it Davey. This is a pitcher who was a key part of the 2019 World Series team. We appreciate that. But at some point, you have to face the reality. For every good start, you will have to stomach three bad starts on average. That is not good. You need to upgrade.

The team has to figure out if Mitchell Parker is a keeper, and who joins MacKenzie Gore and Jake Irvin in the 2025 starting rotation with Trevor Williams and Corbin heading to free agency after this season. Of course general manager Mike Rizzo might look to bring in an ace free agent to put at the top of his rotation. There should be a competition from Gore, Irvin, Parker, Gray, Cavalli, Rutledge, and Herz for 3-to-4 starting spots next year.

“Overall, one of those days where it seemed like anything I threw got hit.” Corbin said last night. “I know some of these games happen sometimes. It stinks, obviously. I’m upset about it — but it’s your start day. You go out there every fifth day, you try to go as deep as you can. You never want to come out and let the bullpen eat up some of those innings. Sometimes it stinks, but it’s your job. You’ve got to go out there, fight through and try to go as deep as you can.”

Rizzo has to be the adult in the room and make the tough decision.

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