Brewers News: Corbin Burnes Loses Arbitration Hearing
A year after taking a different starting pitcher to arbitration, the Brewers' front office made a similar move this offseason. This time, they took ace Corbin Burnes to arbitration after being unable to reach a salary agreement for the 2023 season.
The hearing took place yesterday, where a panel of independent arbitrators heard the team's case for offering $10.01 million as opposed to the $10.75 million Burnes filed for. In a much anticipated judgment, it appears as though the panel sided with the Brewers, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
On Wednesday, ace Corbin Burnes lost his arbitration case with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Some Brewers fans already have had frustration build toward owner Mark Attanasio and the front office staff due to a lack of free agent signings and other similar decisions. This arbitration hearing is no different, especially from a staff that also traded away Josh Hader and has failed to spend any significant money to keep the team competitive.
While fan reactions have been swift and harsh, we should get a look at Burnes' response tomorrow when he reports to the Brewers' spring training camp as Brewers beat writer for MLB.com Adam McCalvy tells us here.
The Brewers had 11 arbitration-eligible players this offseason. They settled with 10, all but Burnes. After Burnes' stellar 2023 season, today's decision was surprising to some. The 2021 National League Cy Young winner put on a compelling defense of his title this season. Despite a drop in his stats from 2021, Burnes finished with another Top 10 NL Cy Young finish this past season.
While the number Burnes filed at, $10.75 million, would have been a record for a starting pitcher in his second year of arbitration, Burnes is a star and arguably deserved the salary he asked for, especially given the pitching market. He's finished in the Top 10 of Cy Young voting the past three seasons, including his win in 2021.
The two-time All-Star has led the Brewers' postseason charge for the past three seasons. Especially given the team's penchant for offensive droughts, they've relied on their pitching staff to keep them competitive. They've risen to the challenge, particularly Burnes. Burnes has inarguably been at the core of the team, rising from one of the worst pitchers in the game in 2019 to one of the best in just a couple of seasons.
As the Brewers have yet to extend Burnes, who will become a free agent after the 2024 season, today's arbitration announcement is far from good news. His case going to arbitration in the first place was a bad sign, especially given the measly difference in numbers on the two sides. The Brewers will save $740k, but at what cost?
Arbitration can be an ugly process, and this case could very well seal the deal of the Brewers' hopes of extending Burnes. As a small market team, the Brewers do have to pick their battles when it comes to salaries. But why this battle?
That $740k could very well cost Attanasio and the Brewers a generational talent and a top notch starting pitcher when he decides to leave in free agency for a team that will actually pay him what he's worth.