The fact that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was involved in the Corbin Burnes sweepstakes before the Baltimore Orioles swept in and acquired him certainly suggests that the front office is still trying to reinforce the starting rotation.
Strategy in the Starting Rotation
Considering the Yankees are depending on Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes to take a big step forward following multiple injuries in 2023, let alone the hopeful progression of Clarke Schmidt, it is safe to say that they are playing a risky hand. However, the Yankees weren’t willing to give up prospect Spencer Jones in exchange for Burnes, who is 29 years old and headed into the final year of arbitration.
Cashman already has several big decisions to make on players on expiring deals, notably Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres, and Alex Verdugo. They represent three primary starters with Soto as a generational talent.
Missed Opportunity with Burnes
Clearly, Cashman has a red line he is unwilling to cross, and the Orioles presented a good offer that convinced the Brewers to move on from Burnes. The star ace has three consecutive years with a minimum of 167 innings, including 193.2 last year, hosting a 3.39 ERA, 74.9% left-on-base rate, and 44.1% ground-ball rate.
Burnes would’ve been an elite addition to the rotation, pairing with Gerrit Cole and sliding in as the number two just ahead of Rodon. The Yankees were certainly surprised by the Orioles sweeping in, and it seems as if they were also quite disappointed they lost out on Burnes.
“They did try to get Corbin Burnes,” Andy Martino of SNY said. “I know they were disappointed that they didn’t.”
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Yankees Exploring Alternatives
Cashman could pivot to the free agent market once again to help supplement the unit, targeting Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery.
For now, that doesn’t seem like the most preferable option since both pitchers are over 30 years old and looking for long-term extensions. The more efficient move may be to wait until the summer trade deadline and acquire a healthy arm who can help down the stretch and during the postseason.