The Baltimore Orioles have made a significant move to bolster their pitching staff, acquiring the 2021 NL Cy Young winner, Corbin Burnes, from the Milwaukee Brewers. The trade, announced by the Orioles, involved sending rookie infielder Joey Ortiz, left-hander DL Hall, and their 2024 Competitive Balance Round A draft pick (#34 overall) to the Brewers. In response, Milwaukee designated lefty Ethan Small for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
The Orioles had been the subject of speculation regarding their pursuit of a top-tier starting pitcher, especially during the previous offseason. With a well-stocked farm system that has produced emerging talents, particularly in the position player category, Baltimore decided to leverage their farm depth to acquire an impact starter like Burnes.
Corbin Burnes, a right-handed pitcher, has established himself as one of the premier arms in the league. He joined the Milwaukee rotation during the shortened 2020 season and has consistently ranked in the top 10 in NL Cy Young voting for the past four seasons. His standout performance in 2021, winning the Cy Young with an MLB-best 2.43 ERA over 167 innings, showcased his dominance.
While Burnes’ 2023 season was slightly less impressive than his previous years, it was still remarkable by league standards. With a 3.39 ERA over 193 2/3 innings and a strikeout rate of 25.5%, Burnes demonstrated his enduring quality as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. His performance in the second half of the season, with a 28.6% strikeout rate and a low .187/.259/.294 slash line from opponents, reaffirmed his status as an elite pitcher.
Looking at Burnes’ overall record since 2020, he boasts a stellar 2.86 ERA across 105 appearances, striking out nearly 31% of batters faced. Both left-handed and right-handed hitters have struggled against him, with a combined .197/.262/.308 batting line. Aside from a brief stint on the injured list in 2021 due to a finger contusion, Burnes has been consistently available, establishing himself as a reliable ace.
Corbin Burnes now becomes the linchpin of the Orioles’ pitching rotation, elevating it from a previous area of concern to one of the potentially high-upside staffs in the league. With Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez showing promise as #2 and #3 arms, respectively, and the return of John Means from Tommy John surgery, the Orioles’ rotation looks poised for success in the upcoming season. Dean Kremer and others round out the staff, offering a blend of experience and emerging talent. The acquisition of Burnes signifies the Orioles’ commitment to building a competitive and formidable pitching arsenal for the 2024 season.