New York Yankee Fans Demand a Counter Move to the Baltimore Orioles Trade for Corbin Burnes

Yankees fans demand a counter to orioles acquiring Corbin Burnes

Just this week I wrote about the Yankees and the American League East race in 2024 and crowned them as the off-season’s biggest winner. The Baltimore Orioles said “Hold my beer” on Thursday night and announced the trade to the Milwaukee Brewers of two prospects for Corbin Burnes. Burnes, a former Cy Young Award winner, reportedly felt disrespected after he lost his arbitration battle with the Brewers in 2023 and is slated to become a free agent at season’s end. Thus, a Burnes’ trade was not unforeseen, however, Milwaukee had been decidedly uncertain about the possibility of trading him before the season and the Yankees had been unsuccessful in brokering a deal.

In light of the Burnes’ trade, the Yankees’ offseason suddenly dims a bit by comparison. Pre-trade, the Yankees’ starting rotation consisting of Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, Nestor Cortes, Jr., and Clarke Schmidt profiled positively against the very youthful rotation of the Orioles: Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer, John Means, Grayson Rodriguez, and Tyler Wells. Now, however, the addition of Burnes propels this rotation to the top of the AL East.  The 2023 Orioles’ staff was already very good and was 11th in rotation ERA, 13th in FIP, and 16th in strikeout rate. Bradish, Rodriguez, and Kremer ranked in the top 20 starters after the All-Star break, with Bradish (2.34) and Rodriguez (2.58) ranking in the top 5.

The question for every Yankee fan now is what will the Yankees do to counter such an explosive move by the 2023 division winners?  There are still many trade options that the Yankees could explore to bring somewhat comparable talent to the Bronx, for example, Jesus Luzardo or Edward Cabrera of the Marlins or Dylan Cease of the White Sox. The Yankees could revisit their offer to free agent Blake Snell in the hopes that he might reconsider the offer to come to New York.

Let us pull the lens back and take a wider view of the offseason for the Yankees. The Juan Soto trade was the product of the most “disastrous” and “embarrassing” season in recent memory for the Bombers – and this according to Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman. Soto represents instant offense for a team that finished 24th in the league. The team’s hubris in handling the Yoshinobu Yamamoto free agency was astonishing this offseason. The Yankees had apparently been holding the number 18 for Yamamoto for a couple of years and their very competitive bid for him was played out in the public eye. When Yamamoto chose the Los Angeles Dodgers, it appeared to deflate the Yankee’s pre-established plans for 2024.

In an effort to pivot to the next best available pitcher this offseason, the Yankees made an offer to Snell (reportedly five years $150 million), who rebuffed it and countered with a demand for nine years, $240 million. The two sides were miles apart, however, and the Yankees quickly turned their attention to Marcus Stroman and signed him. Stroman, however, felt like the consolation prize to Yankee fans, especially given his contentious comments about Brian Cashman and the Yankee organization in previous years.

Sure, the Yankees also traded for Alex Verdugo and made several signings for depth players, particularly in the relief pitching ranks. The offseason for the Yankees, which began with the promise of great things for 2024 with the Soto acquisition and the comments of Brian Cashman that he wanted to return the Bronx to the “Mecca of baseball,” has devolved into unfinished business. The Orioles’ acquisition of Burnes propels them into the top of the league and leaves the remaining teams in the division looking to acquire talent still ahead of the season.

At least that’s the way Yankee fans see it, the glass is definitely half empty and there remains work to be done. Fans on social media have demanded that the Yankees counter the Burnes’ trade by obtaining Snell. To fans, the Yankees represent Snell’s only offer this offseason and Snell represents the Yankees’ best chance to upgrade the rotation and compete on level ground with the Orioles. Unfortunately, the Yankees reportedly withdrew their offer and there’s been no news of any other offers forthcoming.  At this point, Yankee fans might just as well get used to the idea that the Orioles outmaneuvered the Yankees this offseason by signing Burnes. Once new ownership was announced and the trade made, notice was served on the league that the Orioles knew what a talented and special group of young players they have and are banking on the fact that their success in 2023 can be propelled into the stratosphere in 2024.

It is too early to call a division race. The Orioles and the Yankees still have a season of baseball ahead of them with all of the unexpected twists and turns that every baseball season contains. Three other teams in this division are as poised as the Yankees to take down last year’s division winners. The Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Rays will not be handing anyone the division and may make counter moves of their own to try to compete with the Orioles.

If the season ended today, here are my AL East standings:

  1. Baltimore Orioles
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Boston Red Sox

Yankee fans aren’t going to like this but it remains to be seen whether this Yankees team can keep pace with the Orioles and then make a final push at the trade deadline for a superstar to give them that competitive edge in September. For now, the Yankees seem content to ride with the team they’ve assembled.

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