Can Phillies squeeze Madison Bumgarner and Patrick Corbin in rotation?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at AT&T Park on September 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at AT&T Park on September 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /
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Is there a scenario where the Phillies are able to add both Patrick Corbin and Madison Bumgarner to their starting rotation?

The Phillies hot stove has reached a boiling point in the last 24 hours. First, it was the news that the Giants are willing to shop Madison Bumgarner and Philadelphia is a potential landing spot. Then multiple reporters have confirmed that Patrick Corbin, the top free-agent starting pitcher available, is visiting Citizens Bank Park Tuesday.

Both players would fill the same need by coming to Philadelphia: the team has not had a good left-handed pitcher in the rotation since Cole Hamels was traded away in 2015. Either pitcher would split up what is currently an entirely right-handed rotation. It helps that both also happen to be among the top starters in the game.

With both pitchers very much on the team’s radar, let’s break down the possibility of both Bumgarner and Corbin joining the rotation this offseason.

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Salary should not be an issue. Bumgarner only has one year left on the contract he signed back in 2012 after the Giants exercised their $12 million club option Oct. 30. Meanwhile, Corbin is predicted to get a six-year, $129 million contract by MLB Trade Rumors, an average annual salary of $21.5 million. The club has more than enough salary space to bring in both players on these deals and still have room for more long-term.

The bigger question regarding salaries would be if Bumgarner wants to sign here long-term. He will turn 30 next year but will still command a fairly large contract when he hits free agency. Bumgarner’s salary will likely be close or slightly more than what Corbin will get this offseason. That’s when the team would potentially need to go into the luxury tax or try to cut costs elsewhere, depending on other potential moves.

In the scenario where both players do become Phillies, the rotation would be stacked. A top four of Aaron Nola, Corbin, Bumgarner, and Jake Arrieta would be the second coming of the Phour Aces. A fifth starter of Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, or Jerad Eickhoff would round out the rotation well.

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Of course, the drawback to this would be you have four starters all pushing for one rotation spot. One of them would likely be traded for Bumgarner or another piece. That could hurt them down the road if Bumgarner did leave, but the team has enough depth at the position to be able to absorb that blow.

That leads into the next question of what the team would have to give up in order to create this scenario. The Giants don’t have much leverage considering Bumgarner has one year left on his deal and they have just under $143 million of payroll (before any arbitration salaries) committed next year. With that being said, they will likely still ask for a premium to trade away a player who was integral to their last three World Series titles.

Next. Patrick Corbin is in Philadelphia. dark

The cost may be high to bring both Corbin and Bumgarner into Philadelphia, but the prospects of that rotation are tantalizing. Starting pitching was the club’s strength in 2018, and doubling down on that front next year could significantly increase their playoff chances.