Corbin Burnes is one year away from being a free agent. Given how much he will command on the open market next winter, many believe the Milwaukee Brewers will trade him this year, either before or during the season. Unless Milwaukee opts for the latter then find themselves in a playoff race by July. It would make it far more difficult to deal their ace at that point in the season. The Brewers have desires to contend next season, but the front office presents itself with an interesting dilemma. Do they move Burnes now, or play out the first half of the season and revisit the situation in July?

What to Do With Corbin Burnes

If Milwaukee wants to move him in the new year, an acquiring team will have to pay a steep price. This means they will have to cough up controllable young arms since the Brewers aren’t in a position where they need to make a deal. Teams who lose out on the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes might turn to the trade market. That’s where Burnes will garner some attention as the top option available.

The only team who have been more than aggressive this winter is the Los Angeles Dodgers. They signed Shohei Ohtani and traded for Tyler Glasnow, but they need a shortstop. The Dodgers could give the Brewers a call for a deal for both Bunres and Willy Adames, who is also a free agent at the end of next season. The New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers might try to deal for Burnes depending on what happens with Yamamoto.

Willingness to Keep Burnes Is Unclear

It remains unclear if the Brewers want to trade the right-hander. Yet the possibility exists that Milwaukee might carry Burnes into the season. That will signal for the club to compete and avoid the disastrous backlash they received for trading Josh Hader at the 2022 deadline. The Brewer’s departure of right-hander Adrian Houser to the New York Mets was perhaps part of owner Mark Attanasio’s plan. The trade will open nearly $7 million in payroll flexibility, possibly setting the team up to make other moves while carrying Burnes’ $15.1 million salary.

If Milwaukee Fails to Contend

If the Brewers don’t keep up in the standings or playoff race, they could move Burnes at the deadline as long as he stays healthy. The problem right now for teams open to trading for starting pitching depth is the number of free agents available. Blake Snell would require the loss of a draft pick wherever he signs. For the others, it costs only money which enables them to keep their picks and prospects.

Reducing the Brewers’ chances of a big return will be a challenge as Burnes’ relatively high salary in his final year of arbitration before coming a free agent. Unlike Glasnow, teams view Burnes as unlikely to sign an extension. The problem with keeping Burnes is that an injury could happen before the deadline or a decline in performance. If the Brewers contend, trades of Burnes and Adames will be out of the question. For Burnes, Adames and Brandon Woodruff, the Brewers could end up with only two draft picks- one if they decline to make Adames a qualifying offer.

Brewers general manager Matt Arnold expects Burnes to be the Opening Day starter. However, Opening Day isn’t until March 28, 2024. A lot can change between now and then.

Photo Credit: © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.