The Baltimore Orioles took the baseball world by storm on Thursday when they acquired three-time All-Star and 2021 NL Cy Young Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers to bolster their pitching rotation.
In exchange for Burnes, the Brew Crew received infielder Joey Ortiz, left-handed pitcher DL Hall, and the 34th overall selection in the 2024 MLB Draft.
This is a massive move for the Orioles, who shockingly won the AL East last season, exceeding all expectations en route to winning 101 games.
While Baltimore overachieved in the regular season only to get swept in the ALDS by the Texas Rangers, they’re widely viewed to boast one of the best young cores in baseball.
However, questions surrounding their pitching staff plagued them in 2023. Now, they have a bonafide ace atop their rotation in the form of Burnes.
It is important to note that Burnes will become a free agent after the 2024 campaign. The Orioles are taking a risk by giving up assets to acquire a player on an expiring contract but they did it to give themselves the inside track in negotiations as they try to work out a deal.
If the Orioles and Burnes can’t agree to a long-term deal, these four teams will be chomping at the bits to sign him next offseason.
4. New York Mets
As long as Steve Cohen owns the New York Mets and continues to pour in significant financial resources to construct the roster, they will be linked to notable free agents and trade targets.
Burnes certainly fits the bill and would provide a boon to a Mets rotation after they traded two future Hall of Fame and three-time Cy Young Award-winning pitchers (Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer).
Not to mention, Burnes has a connection to the Mets front office after New York hired David Stearns to be their president of baseball operations this past October.
Stearns and Burnes spent a handful of seasons together dating back to their overlap in Milwaukee with the Brewers from 2018-22.
After leading the MLB in total payroll by a wide margin in 2023, the Mets are currently slated to have the second-highest payroll in the majors in 2024, trailing only their New York counterpart (the Yankees).
The Mets 2024 payroll is three times greater than the Orioles payroll as things stand, suggesting they’re ill-equipped to get into a bidding war with a team that has remarkably deeper pockets than them.
If Burnes prices himself out of Baltimore’s range, the Mets would be ready to pounce.