Yankees ‘rebuffed’ Brewers’ demand for emerging outfield prospect in trade for star pitcher

spencer jones, yankees
Hudson Valley Renegades outfielder Spencer Jones during media day on April 5, 2023. Renegades Media Day

The rumors that the Milwaukee Brewers asked for Spencer Jones from the New York Yankees have been confirmed by Bob Nightengale of USA Today. It seems that the Brewers weren’t going to budge on that demand, causing the Baltimore Orioles to remain the frontrunner for Corbin Burnes, who is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. From the Yankees’ perspective, they know that the right-hander will test the open waters of free agency as he’s a Scott Boras client and has said so himself on Foul Territory.

Looking at it from the Brewers’ perspective however, if they wanted to get a sizable return from the Yankees, they needed the best prospect not-named Jasson Dominguez that they could get. It seems that the two parties weren’t going to come together on a deal, and the Yankees will have to look elsewhere for starting pitching.

High Demands Force Yankees to Pivot To Other Targets

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

Corbin Burnes is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and the Milwaukee Brewers certainly made sure to treat him as such in negotiations with the New York Yankees. Asking for Spencer Jones is a reasonable thing to do in a trade conversation revolving around one of the three best pitchers on the planet, and they seemed to gravitate more to what the Baltimore Orioles had to offer. This doesn’t seem like a case of the Yankees being asked for too much in a trade compared to other teams, but rather the gap in farm system quality creating an obvious match.

Every outlet grades the Baltimore Orioles as the best farm system in baseball, and their depth oozes excellent prospect talent that could impact any MLB roster positively. Joey Ortiz and DL Hall are still top-100 prospects with immediate MLB value and assessing their needs, a steady shortstop and strong left-handed starter are exactly what the Brewers needed. Ortiz is an excellent defender at shortstop with brilliant power, but his swing decisions have limited him to a Minor League role as guys like Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday have surpassed him on the depth chart.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Sep 30, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher DL Hall (49) pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone equates the Orioles’ package to Chase Hampton and Oswald Peraza, but forget one key element about a trade that trumps any public evaluation, and that’s team perception. If the Brewers believe DL Hall and Joey Ortiz are better players than Chase Hampton and Oswald Peraza, then they’ll trade for the former package, regardless of what public outlets believe these players will turn out to be. Smart teams acquire players they believe they can develop well, and the Brewers did exactly that in this deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees still have interest in Dylan Cease, and they could potentially look across the market for other starting pitchers to potentially add to their rotation. It’s unclear what their interest levels are in various pitchers on the trade market, but we know that the Yankees are at least checking in to see what it’ll take to acquire rotation help ahead of Opening Day. A Spring Training trade isn’t out of the picture, but perhaps they stand pat for now after adding Marcus Stroman and look ahead to the trade deadline.

It’ll be an interesting few weeks as we head into Spring Training as some marquee free agents and trade targets remain unmoved as pitchers and catchers begin to report to Arizona and Florida.