Could the Yankees trade for superstar pitcher to supplement rotation issues?

corbin burnes, yankees
Oct 5, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes (39) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are already dealing with a number of injuries in the starting rotation, notably to Frankie Montas and Carlos Rodon. Montas will miss until August at the very earliest, and Rodon is expected to miss around the first month of the regular season as he deals with a left forearm strain.

However, injuries of that nature can sometimes lead to more serious issues, specifically Tommy John surgery. The Yankees feel Rodon will dodge any severe problems, but it is fair to have options on the back burner if they need to acquire another starter.

In the meantime, the Yankees have been providing Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt with plenty of reps during spring training to prepare them for the regular season. Both seem to be in line to fill rotation spots in the absence of Rodon and Montas, but who’s to say they don’t go looking for a significant upgrade?

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Could the Yankees target a superstar pitcher via trade?

If the Yankees want to acquire a true superstar, and a healthy one at that, looking in the direction of Milwaukee Brewers’ Corbin Burnes could be in the cards. Burnes is one of the top pitchers in the MLB, and at 28 years old, he’s been having issues getting compensated in arbitration.

Burnes is set to earn $10.01 million in arbitration and is controlled through 2024. Having already won a Cy Young award, he’s one of the best young pitchers in a game but is looking for a long-term extension, having lost his arbitration case this past off-season.

Given the fact that the Brewers haven’t been negotiating in good faith, from his perspective, it could open up an opportunity for a team like the Yankees to swoop in and acquire him before he hits free agency in 2025.

The problem is Burnes will cost a pretty penny, but the Yankees have several top prospects who could be expendable, depending on the scenario.

Since the Yankees are trying to justify Anthony Volpe’s promotion to the 26-man roster, they may have to make a few difficult decisions. Obviously, trading Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Gleyber Torres doesn’t move the needle much. Still, there’s an argument to be made that leveraging Peraza would allow Volpe to take over at shortstop, and Torres can remain at second base, where he’s currently considered a top-10 player.

For a player like Burnes, who hosted a 2.94 ERA across 202 innings last season with 10.83 strikeouts per nine and a 76.8% left-on-base rate, there may not be a better option to pair with Gerrit Cole, even compared to Rodon, who’s coming off a stellar campaign himself.

If we use a baseball trade simulator, a package that closely resembles Burnes’s value is Oswald Peraza, Everson Pereira, Clarke Schmidt, and Austin Wells. In return, the Yankees would have to give up three quality prospects and Schmidt, a solid bullpen arm with value as a starting pitcher. Burnes would offer the team two years of controlled play at a reasonable price point and Cy-Young-caliber pitching, which is certainly a worthwhile acquisition.

However, it is fair to assume that the Brewers would want Anthony Volpe or Jasson Dominguez, which the Yankees should happily stifle. Of course, this is entirely hypothetical, but based on Burnes’s frustration over the arbitration hearing, it’s possible he could look to force his way out in hopes of being paid elsewhere.