Corbin Burnes is the biggest name in the sport of baseball at the moment. In a slow offseason, Burnes was traded to the Baltimore Orioles seemingly out of nowhere. One of the best pitchers in baseball was sent to Baltimore -- a mid-market team which won its division in 2023 -- for two MLB-ready prospects and the No. 34 pick in this year's draft.
Burnes will be a free agent next winter, which is why he was available in the first place. As great as he may be for the Orioles this season, there is a reason Milwaukee traded him in the first place. The Brewers were not convinced he'd negotiate an extension to stay in the great state of Wisconsin.
“The overarching theme is we’re excited about the players we’re getting back. The reality of our situation is that we had one year left with Corbin. I think Corbin had been pretty public about how this was going to be his last year as a Brewer," Matt Arnold said on Thursday night.
Arnold may be right, though he dug his own grave on this one. The Brewers went to arbitration with Burnes last year over $750k, which is pennies on the dollar in MLB terms. What was said in that hearing will remain private, but it clearly rubbed Burnes the wrong way.
“There’s no denying that the relationship was definitely hurt from what (transpired) over the last couple weeks. There’s really no way to get around that,” Burnes said at the time. “When some of the things that are said … they basically put me in the forefront of the reason why we didn’t make the postseason last year. That’s something that probably didn’t need to be said.”
Where does Corbin Burnes stand on a potential contract extension with the Orioles?
When Burnes was traded to Baltimore, most pundits assumed it would be as a rental ace. The good news for the Orioles is that their rental now lasts an entire season, rather than just a few months, which would have been the case had Burnes been acquired at the trade deadline.
Burnes did comment on a potential extension in Baltimore, though it would take a crazy offer to keep him with the O's.
While the Orioles are under new ownership, something crazy is not in their DNA. This is not Steve Cohen all over again.
We can only hope that Baltimore going all-in will pay off, as it could encourage other small-market and mid-market teams to do the same. The mostly likely outcome, unfortunately, is that Burnes leaves as a free agent to a team that can afford him long term.