Behind rift between Brewers, Corbin Burnes after arbitration

The Brewers showed no inclination to trade ace Corbin Burnes this winter. But after upsetting the right-hander via the arbitration process (in a case that looked like a slam-dunk loser for them, but turned out to be a stunning, nonsensical winner), one has to wonder whether they have long-term plans for him.

The Brewers have been hit harder than most teams by the pandemic, since they have about the worst TV contract and rely on gate receipts. But it seems hard to imagine they’d risk upsetting their best pitcher, as they apparently have, if they were planning an extension.

Arbitration is a bitter process, and Burnes’ case is Exhibit A. It makes little sense he lost since he deserved the exact same $455,000 raise Shane Bieber got after a basically identical season (both were seventh in Cy Young voting), which would have put him over the midpoint between $10.01 million he got and the $10.75M he sought. And it makes even less sense the Brewers put saving a few hundred grand over their ace pitcher.

“There’s no denying that the relationship is definitely hurt from what transpired,” Burnes told Brewers writers in Arizona. “You learn your true value in the organization.”

Corbin Burnes throws during a Brewers' spring training practice.
Corbin Burnes throws during a Brewers’ spring training practice.

Free agent Yuli Gurriel is telling folks he wants a guaranteed deal. So he may wait it out. Anibal Sanchez also is holding out hope for a guaranteed deal. …

Potential landing spots for Zack Britton include the Dodgers, Angels and Rangers. The Mets, Giants and Cubs also have been long linked to Britton. …

Bryan Reynolds told writers in Pirates camp he is still open to talking about a contract, and the Pirates are expected to try again this spring. The Pirates offered about $76M over six years (with no club options), as was reported here. But his side cited Matt Olson ($168M) as a comparison, surely wanting nine figures. The Pirates talked to teams about trades after Reynolds requested one, but much prefer to extend him.

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