Milwaukee Brewers star pitcher Corbin Burnes is now on the Chicago Cubs’ radar as the team surveys potential options to add to their starting rotation this offseason. According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, the Cubs are keeping a close eye on Milwaukee’s course of action this winter and if the opportunity arises, then the Cubs are going to be ready to strike.
The Cubs already stunned the baseball industry this offseason by hiring Craig Counsell. Could they do it again by trading for the former National League Cy Young award winner?
They also have an eye on Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes, in case the Brewers begin to subtract — and Milwaukee is willing to trade with the team that just pilfered its manager.
Burnes, 29, is headed for his final year of being an arbitration-eligible player in 2024 and will be a free agent following next season. The right-hander has earned a plethora of accolades during his big-league career with the Brewers, including his 2021 NL Cy Young Award. The hard-throwing starter has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball since becoming a full-time member of Milwaukee’s rotation at the beginning of the 2021 season.
In the last three seasons, Burnes has recorded a 2.94 ERA in 93 starts, averaging nearly 11 strikeouts per nine innings. Despite having a “down” year in 2023, Burnes was still good, posting a 3.39 ERA with 200 strikeouts in 193.2 innings.
According to MLB Trade Rumors’ projected arbitration salaries, Burnes is predicted to make about $15 million in 2024.
So, what will the Brewers do this offseason?
Milwaukee received terrible news already, as Brandon Woodruff will miss most of the 2024 season and possibly all of it after undergoing shoulder surgery. Losing their ace before the offseason even began might have set the tone for what’s to come for the Brewers. They have already traded veteran outfielder Mark Canha to the Detroit Tigers, saving some money there and they might non-tender Woodruff.
According to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, everyone on the Brewers might be available this offseason.
Via The Athletic.
Executives at this time of year are always careful to tell reporters they are fielding calls on their players rather than shopping them. In that sense, the Brewers would say they are acting no differently than any club. But industry sources tell a different story.
Those sources, briefed on the Brewers’ discussions but not authorized to discuss them publicly, say the team is open to moving virtually any player on its roster.
A continued teardown, considering the Brewers’ current position, would not be without logic. It might even be the proper course.
Now, with all that being said, and as much as I would love Burnes on the Cubs, I think there’s close to zero percent chance that the Brewers make a deal with one of their division rivals. You just rarely see star players getting traded within the division. Plus, if the Brewers do end up trading Burnes, there are plenty of teams across the league that would have compelling offers for them to choose from. The Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers could all conceivably put together strong proposals that beat out the Cubs for Burnes.
But hey, it’s still fun to think about and after seeing Brewers fans break after the Craig Counsell hiring, I can’t imagine their reaction if the Cubs did in fact trade for Corbin Burnes.