I hate to say "I told you so", but I told you so. The Milwaukee Brewers took their Cy Young winning ace to an arbitration hearing. It was a game of chicken over a small salary amount that the Brewers decided to play. There was no winning. Even if they won the case, it would come at such a cost, it couldn't be thought of as a win.
As it turns out they did win the case against Burnes. Congratulations Brewers, you saved $740k and in the process you have irreparably harmed your relationship with the best player on your team.
They can say they hope no one takes it personally all they want, but when you trash talk a player to his face in front of a bunch of strangers who decide his salary, hard feelings will be had.
As Corbin Burnes arrived at spring training, it's clear that things between the Brewers and Burnes have soured.
Corbin Burnes has scorched the Brewers organization for their poor handling of his arbitration case and attacks on him in the hearing room.
It's difficult to imagine more negative comments coming from a player about his organization.
"You find out your true value to the organization. You think you work hard for seven years in the organization and you get in there and they value you much different than what you contributed to the organization."
Burnes had talked to guys who had previously gone through the arbitration process, including Josh Hader, and he knew going in that there would be something like that going on. But to hear it and hear how your bosses value you and downplaying your value to the team is going to damage your relationship.
Burnes is the best player on the team, no doubt about it. He knows it, everyone knows it. But the Brewers, who probably also know it, didn't say that to the arbitrators.
Burnes also said "There's no denying that the relationship is definitely hurt from what perspired over the last couple weeks. There's no way of getting around that... But when some of the things that are said, you know for instance basically putting me at the forefront of the reason why we didn't make the postseason last year. That's something that probably doesn't need to be said"
What? The Brewers actually made the claim that Corbin Burnes was the reason why the Brewers didn't make the playoffs last year? The guy who took the mound every fifth day and didn't get hurt when all the other starters did? The guy with a 2.94 ERA? The guy who finished 7th in the Cy Young voting? He's to blame for not making the playoffs? Not the bullpen who blew 16 save opportunities in the final two months? Not the offense that couldn't get a clutch hit to save their lives? Not trading away the best reliever in the game for a homer-happy replacement that blew several saves?
And the arbitration panel actually bought that argument from the Brewers?
Corbin Burnes has every right to be upset after hearing that. There is no logical basis for the argument that Burnes was a reason why they didn't make the playoffs. Burnes was one of the only players keeping them in the race over the final two months. He's the reason they were in first place at the trade deadline to begin with.
Oh but don't worry, the Brewers tried to give him a multi-year offer that totally wasn't also insulting.
The Brewers gave him a last minute "multi-year" offer that wasn't really multiyear, it just had a club or mutual option for his final arbitration year that Burnes found poor and insulting.
So not only did the Brewers trash talk Burnes to his face and falsely accuse him of being the reason they missed on the playoffs last year, they also made him an insulting "two-year" offer with an option for 2024 that would cover his final year of arbitration.
You can practically forget about a contract extension for Burnes at this point. The Brewers don't seem interested in even making a good faith attempt to keep him and have instead chosen to insult him and lie about him to save $740k.