MLB Rumors: Will the Brewers trade Corbin Burnes?
The Milwaukee Brewers are in first place, somehow, in what’s been a rather pedestrian race for the top of the NL Central. Arguably one of the worst divisions in baseball so far, the Central is up for grabs. It would be odd for Milwaukee to sell in the midst of what could be a playoff-bound season, but it’s something they’ve done relatively recently.
When the Brewers traded Josh Hader to the Padres, they remained in contention for the Central and NL Wild Card. The organization deemed it the best move for the team at the time, and received ample prospect capital in return. Could Corbin Burnes be next?
Unfortunately from Milwaukee’s point of view — should they be interested in trading Burnes at all — there’s a complication. Mainly, Burnes is not pitching as well as he has in year’s past. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic laid out the dilemma:
"“Burnes’ average fastball velocity has dropped from the 83rd percentile to the 75th to the 64th. His whiff rate has dropped from the 97th percentile to the 95th to the 72nd. And his strikeout rate has declined from 35.6 percent to 30.5 to 24.3. Another trend with Burnes is that he is holding left-handed hitters to a .481 OPS, likely reflecting the effectiveness of his back-door cutter, while righties are at .734. He held righties to a .471 OPS in 2021 and a .593 OPS in ‘22.”"
Those advanced statistics, specifically the fastball velocity, will cause potential trade partners some pause.
Burnes is an ace-level talent at his best. The Brewers would be wrong to take anything less than a prospect-laden trade package for one of the best pitchers in the National League. Right now, though, Burnes is not himself, which could limit interested suitors.