Yankees likely to face tough challenges in Corbin Burnes pursuit, claims insider

Pursuing Brewers' ace Corbin Burnes is an option for the Yankees after failing to sign Yamamoto.
Inna Zeyger
Saturday December 23, 2023

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The decision of Yoshinobu Yamamoto to go to LA has forced the Yankees to reconsider their plans. A logical alternative would be to redirect their efforts toward acquiring Corbin Burnes, the ace of the Brewers, who is in the final year of his contract with a financially constrained team.

However, there’s a complication if the Yankees do the same. Following Mets President of Baseball Operations David Stearns facing criticism for trading closer Josh Hader in the 2022 trade deadline, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is wary of repeating a similar misstep with Burnes, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Challenges await Yankees in Corbin Burnes chase

According to major-league sources briefed on the team’s thinking, Rosenthal reported earlier this week that there’s a possibility the team might retain Corbin Burnes into the season due to owner Mark Attanasio’s inclination to compete. This decision could be influenced by a desire to avoid a similar backlash to the one the team faced when trading Josh Hader at the 2022 deadline.

corbin burnes of brewers

The Brewers are under no obligation to trade Corbin Burnes at this moment, as there remains the option to make a deal at the trade deadline. However, the inherent risk of a pitcher sustaining an injury always looms.

At 29 years old, Corbin Burnes, the 2021 Cy Young winner, achieved a 10-8 record with a 3.39 ERA in the previous season. Demonstrating durability, the right-hander has consistently made at least 28 starts in each of the last three years, notably completing 28 starts in 2021 while securing a league-best 2.43 ERA.

Securing victory in the NL Central is a distinct possibility and could serve as a compelling reason to retain Corbin Burnes. However, recent transactions by the Brewers, such as trading pitcher Adrian Houser and outfielder Tyrone Taylor to the Mets to alleviate salary concerns, indicate a financial-oriented approach to decision-making.

Stiff competition

With MLB Trade Rumors estimating Corbin Burnes’ upcoming season earnings at $15.1 million and considering his affiliation with Scott Boras, a move toward free agency appears probable. Opting to trade him now rather than risking a potentially lackluster season or injury could be a more judicious decision for the Brewers.

The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Giants, Blue Jays, and Phillies find themselves on the losing side of the Yamamoto pursuit, with the Yankees and Mets appearing as the close contenders.

These teams might now turn their attention to free-agent alternatives like Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. It’s worth noting that Snell comes with the added complication of a qualifying offer, impacting teams in the draft.

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