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Corbin Burnes trade: Orioles acquire Cy Young-winning ace from Brewers for two young players

The Baltimore Orioles have acquired right-handed starting pitcher Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade, the teams announced Thursday night. Shortstop Joey Ortiz and left-handed pitcher D.L. Hall are going back to the Brewers along with the 34th pick in the 2024 draft, part of Competitive Balance Round A.

Burnes, 29, is under team control until after the 2024 season and has been considered a trade candidate for a while due to the belief he would test free agency after this season instead of signing an extension with the Brewers. Burnes is a three-time All-Star and won the 2021 NL Cy Young before finishing seventh in Cy Young voting in 2022 and eighth last season.

In his 32 starts in 2023, Burnes went 10-8 with a 3.39 ERA (127 ERA+) and 1.07 WHIP. He struck out 200 in 193 2/3 innings. 

Burnes immediately shoots to the top of the Orioles’ rotation as an established ace. Kyle Bradish looked like a frontline starter last season and youngster Grayson Rodríguez has shown flashes of it. Lefty John Means is a former All-Star and returned from Tommy John surgery last season. All this is to say that the addition of an ace like Burnes gives the Orioles a chance for a pretty formidable top four in the rotation.

On the Brewers’ end, this deal going through would mean the end of Burnes and Brandon Woodruff (who was injured and then non-tendered) as a duo of aces with both departing this offseason. Freddy Peralta becomes the ace and he’s shown All-Star upside. Veteran lefty Wade Miley would be the second starter with Colin Rea and a bunch of question marks to follow.

Ortiz, who did not appear on CBS Sports’ list of top Orioles prospects, got a cup of coffee last season with the Orioles, appearing in 15 games. He hit .212/.206/.242, but that’s only 34 plate appearances. In his 88 games in Triple-A, he hit .321/.378/.507 with 30 doubles, four triples, nine homers, 58 RBI, 66 runs and 11 stolen bases. Our R.J. Anderson recently named him as a prospect who could use a change of scenery, identifying him as “a talented defender capable of pulling off web gems,” but who was blocked among Baltimore’s impressive stash of infielders.

Hall, 25, was a first-round pick in 2017 out of high school and has appeared in 29 games over the past two seasons in the majors. He has pitched to a 4.36 ERA and 1.39 WHIP with 42 strikeouts in 33 innings. He’s only made one big-league start, but has a history of starting in the minors, so it’s possible the Brewers will try him in the rotation. 

The biggest takeaway here, though, would be the Orioles adding a Cy Young winner to their rotation just days after the Angelos family agreed to sell the team. This is coming off the Orioles winning 101 games last season, too, so it’s an exciting time in Baltimore.

The Brewers also made the playoffs, taking the NL Central with 92 wins. They recently signed free-agent slugger Rhys Hoskins, but the losses of Burnes and Woodruff weaken them moving forward. 

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