Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs may prove to be some of the most valuable LA Angels next to Mike Trout if the Angels play their cards right this offseason. What a crazy concept, right? Two starters ranging from mid to top of the rotation guys, one whose never played a game in an Angels uni, having extreme value ranging through the better part of a decade? I promise the Angels haven’t made me lose my mind (yet), in fact this is probably the sanest article I’ve written in a bit.
It’s not that strange to think that two starters have done as much, if not more, for the LA Angels than most of the guys currently on the roster. You’re probably wondering exactly what these two have done for the team that validates such high praise? Well for one, both of these athletes have been working to improve the Angels since at least 2010.
What exactly do these two pitchers have that allows them such elite value specifically to the Angels? Well it may not be so much what they’ve done with the organization as much as what they’ve done for. Patrick Corbin hasn’t even spent one game at the big league level with the Angels so you’re probably wondering what exactly he’s done for the team. For starters, both of these athletes were part of the huge 2010 trade that brought Dan Haren to the Angels in exchange for then starting pitcher Joe Saunders and prospects Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin and Rafael Rodriguez.
For three years, from 2010 to 2012, Dan Haren threw 509 innings with a strikeout rate of 7.2 K/9 while pitching to a 3.52 ERA in that three-year span. In fact, his IP with the Angels were the 3rd most with any team throughout his career, Haren throwing more innings only with the Diamondbacks (586.1 IP) and the Athletics (662.2 IP) during his career. His 2011 season was the only season, next to 2009, in which Haren ranked in the Cy Young voting (5th in 2009, 7th in 2011). Haren has had a career marked by fantastic numbers all throughout and the Angels were able to witness some of his best years while as an Angel. Thank you Skaggs and Corbin for that, we can add that as a huge point to your value with the Angels.
So we’ve established that Skaggs and Corbin contributed greatly to the Angels success during the 2010-2012 seasons in form of the Haren trade. It doesn’t even come close to ending there. Skaggs returned to the Angels in 2014 thanks to a 2013 offseason trade which sent then 1B Mark Trumbo to Arizona and brought Tyler Skaggs/Hector Santiago to the Angels. Almost without skipping a beat, Tyler Skaggs kept the value rolling by plugging the hole left by Haren’s departure after the 2012 season. It may not have a been a straight up plug-in terms of value for value, but it can’t be ignored that Skaggs furthered his personal value to the Angels by continuing the role he/Corbin started with Haren.
So in review, Skaggs and Corbin brought the team a deep Cy Young Candidate for 2 and a half seasons to which saw the eventual stacked rotation of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, and C.J Wilson grace the Angels. That’s quite the rotation there, something we’d probably trade half of the farm for in 2018 given those players prime abilities and longevity. In part you can thank Skaggs and Corbin for those years.
Here’s the thing, Tyler Skaggs has already showed off his concrete value to the Angels since rejoining the team back in the 2013 trade of Trumbo to Arizona. Skaggs has spent four years with the organization and given the team 373 innings alongside a 4.25 ERA and 341 strikeouts. While Skaggs 2014 season saw him drop his K/9 rate to 6.8, the second lowest of his career and lowest with the Angels, his career moved past that fairly easily (9.1 K/9 in 2016). Aside from that, his lowest strikeout rate was 8.0 in 2017. Skaggs is coming off his best season yet, posting career bests in ERA (4.02), IP (125.1), K’s (129), K/9 (9.3), and Wins (8). He’s just finished his age 26 season which brings more impact to his “best year yet” of 2018. There’s still a few years left of prime Skaggs, which means the Angels have been getting Big League returns on Skaggs since 2010 and will continue to do so for a few more seasons, unless he happens to be traded by 2021. I’m sure I don’t need to count it for you, but that’s already 8 years of value from Skaggs and looks to be 10+ should he stick around in Anaheim for a few more seasons.
As of now, Mike Trout is the only other Angel with 8 years of value given to the organization. I know it seems crazy to sit Trout and Skaggs in the same class regarding value brought, but in all fairness these are the two most valuable players to the Angels right now, speaking in longevity of value.
What if I told you the Angels can triple up on the Skaggs/Corbin value that’s been rolling since 2010 with a Corbin reunion this offseason? That would be pretty crazy, right? It’s very much within the realm of possibility given Billy Eppler’s statement that the Angels would seek pitching value on the free agent market this season. Patrick Corbin hasn’t pitched a single game in Angels red yet he’s provided some wild value to the team already in the form of Dan Haren. It’s a bit of a head trip thinking about the Skaggs/Corbin duo and their past/present/future value to the Angels. If the Angels end up nabbing Corbin that would be well over a decade of value, as he’ll likely sign a long-term deal. Who do you know in baseball that is worth that much to a single team? It’s rare to see that outside of athletes like Mike Trout, and we’re seeing that with two mid/top-level starters. That’s A+ General Managing magic right there.
Now, speaking on Corbin, what value could he bring to the team? One thing the Angels absolutely need is a workhorse starter and Corbin can fill that need to the brim. In six seasons Corbin has already pitched 945.2 innings and in 2018 he posted his second highest of his career with 200 IP. His highest total is 208.1 in 2013. Aside from a short season in 2015 the lowest amount of innings pitched from Corbin sits at 155.2 IP. In comparison, Andrew Heaney was the workhorse of the Angels staff in 2018 with 180 IP, by far the highest of his career. That’s a total Corbin sees as average, what was a career high for Heaney. Talk about your cup overflowing.
Patrick Corbin, like Skaggs, is coming off the best season of his career. At the age of 28, Corbin threw 200 innings of 3.15 ERA baseball all while carrying a K/9 rate of 11.1. With 246 strikeouts to 48 walks in his age 28 season you’d have to think that’s about what the Angels would see should he join the staff next season. Even if his ERA and K rate turned out mediocre, just based on his sustainability throughout a season he’d be a must have for the Angels. When looking at his stellar numbers you’ll be quick to realize this is absolutely a guy the Angels need to lock in this offseason.
It’s crazy to think about the value these two have been offering this organization and may continue to do so in the future. Even though Corbin hasn’t brought the Angels anything since the Haren departure a continuation of that value would be almost priceless. It’s not often an organization can have a pair of players impacting the organization both in and out of the team uniform for years and years. Just based on the rolling value you’d think this move would be a must have for the Angels.
At surface level the Patrick Corbin move is obvious, even without examining his past value to the Angels it’s practically a no-brainer to bring Corbin back to his home organization. Patrick Corbin, a second round draft pick in 2009, trade piece in 2010, working for the team through Dan Haren in 2010-2012 and returning in 2019 to take the team even farther than Haren could during his tenure would be practically storybook. Then you have Skaggs who did the same for the team in that 2010 trade for Haren, yet returned to the team in 2014 and continued his own train of value for the team all the way to the present day and beyond.
That’s nearly a decade of “service” time to the team from Tyler Skaggs and almost half for Patrick Corbin. Even if that value is somewhat interpretable it cannot be denied the work they’ve done for the organization in and out of the Angels uniform. Now imagine the two teaming up to take the team into the playoffs in the coming seasons, should the Angels lock Corbin in as a Halo starter. I know I’ve stated over and over how wild the concept of their tangible/intangible values to the team are, but it really can’t be stated enough.
All of this value coming back to the team full circle is some weird kind of karmic poetry. In the words of the old and wizened Rally Monkey, “that’s simply bananas!”