The Milwaukee Brewers are reportedly trading 2021 Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes to the Baltimore Orioles for Joey Ortiz, DJ Hall, and the 34th overall pick in the 2024 draft. Burnes, who turned 29 last September, is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season. The hard-throwing righty is coming off of a 2023 season in which he started 32 games while posting a 3.39 ERA, going 10-8.
Milwaukee, who is coming off a season in which it coasted to an NL Central title, now has serious questions regarding its pitching staff. After non-tendering two-time All-Star Brandon Woodruff earlier this offseason, the Brewers have lost two of their top three pitchers from the past couple of seasons.
Regarding the return of the deal, both prospects are expected to start to get some run with the big league club in 2024. Ortiz, who is currently ranked as the 63rd-best prospect in MLB.com's latest prospect rankings, hit .212/.206/.242 while playing second base, third base, and shortstop.
Hall, who has gotten some work as a reliever in Baltimore over the past two seasons, also has a chance to work his way into the rotation. The 25-year-old lefty boasts big-time strike-out stuff, punching out 137 in 84⅓ innings in the minors in 2022.
Burns' departure puts 2021 All-Star Freddy Peralta ace the new ace of Milwaukee's rotation. Wade Miley and Colin Rea, who started 45 combined games last season, are candidates to move into the top half of the rotation.
As far as the rest of the rotation goes, veteran righty Joe Ross and young Southpaw Robert Gasser are the only two other starters listed on the major league roster right now. Ross hasn't pitched in the majors since 2021 but is a veteran arm who has started 76 games in his big league career. Gasser is only 24 and was a part of the 2022 trade that sent Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres. He is yet to throw a pitch in the majors but is still a likely candidate to throw some innings this season for the Brewers.
The free agent market is still rich with experienced starters, which has some people wondering if this move is the last Brewers' offseason. With only a couple of weeks remaining until pitchers and catchers report, it's hard to imagine Milwaukee will go through a complete roster turnover. However, signing another starter could be something of interest if the Brewers are serious about repeating as division champions.
The Brewers have shed quite a bit of cap this offseason, and as it sits right now, are set to open up the season with a payroll totaling 103 million dollars according to sportrac.com. The Brewers 2024 roster currently ranks as the 23rd most expensive team in the MLB. As has been the case for the better part of the last decade, it appears that the Milwaukee Brewers will once again try to grind through the 2024 season by doing more with less.
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