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MLB free agency: Yankees have interest in Patrick Corbin

Corbin might be the ace New York needs if he continues to dominate like he has been for the D-backs.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees “have their eye” on budding Diamondbacks star hurler Patrick Corbin and may make a play for him in free agency after this year, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

This news comes after Bob Nightengale of USA Today interviewed the lefty, who expressed how big of Yankee fans that he and his family were while growing up in Syracuse.

“It would definitely be great to play there,’’ Corbin said in the interview. “I grew up a Yankee fan. My whole family are Yankee fans. My mom, my dad, my grandpa, everybody. Really, every generation of my family has been Yankee fans.”

This is not the first time that the Yankees have thought about Corbin. In the offseason, they had preliminary trade interest in him and Tigers young starter Michael Fulmer and actually talked about trade scenarios involving him while they were trying to deal highly expensive outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

At the time, the 28-year-old Corbin was coming off a 2017 season in which he went 14-13 with a 4.03 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 189 23 innings pitched — the most innings he had thrown since pitching in 208 13 innings in 2013 during an All-Star campaign in which he went 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA. He was also two years removed from the worst season of his career (5-13, 5.15 ERA, 1.56 WHIP) and four years removed from having Tommy John surgery that cost him a season and a half of baseball.

However, Corbin has turned himself into the best pitcher in the big leagues. He is 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA and leads the major leagues with 46 strikeouts. He also ranks third with a .140 opponent’s batting average and fourth with a 0.66 WHIP.

Because of how great he has been, Heyman and Nightengale believe that Corbin, who is currently pitching on a one-year, $7.5 million deal, can be a natural fit for the Yankees. New York has been trying incredibly hard to stay under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold so it can go after big-time free agents in arguably the most loaded class in history. They have been associated with guys like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw, but they could possibly find the ace they desperately need to lead their rotation in Corbin, who will only be 29 in July.