2. Corbin Burnes
The Brewers still have another year of Corbin Burnes earning a near-league minimum salary, so there’s not as much urgency to get an extension done and get some cost certainty over the Crew’s young starter as there is with Woodruff.
However, now might be the most opportune moment for the Brewers to try to sign Burnes to an extension.
To recap Burnes’ career, he came up as a reliever in 2018 and dominated down the stretch, then he transitioned to the starting rotation in 2019 and struggled mightily. In 2020, he got another chance in the rotation and this time, he dominated.
He’s always had the stuff and the potential to dominate in the rotation and we finally saw that happen this year. Now that he’s turned the corner, it would be wise for the Brewers to look to sign him long term.
With just a one year track record of dominance in the rotation, the salary asking price for Burnes isn’t going to be obscenely high right now. But if they wait another season and then Burnes has a two year track record of dominating in the rotation, that price is going to go up.
There’s a chance Burnes wouldn’t have any interest in a contract extension right now, knowing that he can earn more money in the long run if he waits a little longer. However, the chance of earning a bigger pay raise upfront and getting some financial security now can be enticing to some players.
Burnes has four more years of team control, same as Woodruff, although only three of those seasons are arbitration-eligible compared to Woodruff’s four. Once again, the Brewers would need to give at least five guaranteed years to Burnes to make the deal worthwhile.
Both Burnes and Woodruff represent the future of this Brewers rotation. Locking either one or both of them up to long term, cost controlled extensions would be a great move for the organization.