This is not an article I likely would have written before Craig Counsell was named manager of the Cubs.
Beyond getting perhaps the best manager in baseball, Counsell leaving Milwaukee could, potentially, have the Brewers thinking about re-tooling, especially with Brandon Woodruff likely out for the 2024 season. Milwaukee’s biggest strength in 2023 was their pitching, and without Woodruff and Counsell, perhaps they’d be willing to trade off Corbin Burnes and reset and try to contend a couple of years down the road.
Further, obviously Counsell is quite familiar with Burnes and would probably love to have him in his pitching rotation in Chicago.
At ESPN.com, Jesse Rogers noted in this long article about Cubs possibilities:
They also have an eye on Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes, in case the Brewers begin to subtract — and Milwaukee is willing to trade with the team that just pilfered its manager.
That’s a valid point, the Brewers might not be willing to trade with the Cubs. Further, the same caveat applies to Burnes as it does with Juan Soto — any trade acquiring him would guarantee that team just one year, as Burnes will be a free agent after 2024. At age 29, I wouldn’t have any problem offering Burnes a five-year deal.
What would it take to acquire Burnes? The Cubs would probably have to send Jordan Wicks and at least one other pitching prospect, perhaps Ben Brown. Christopher Morel would be a good addition to a Brewers offense that ranked 17th in runs and 24th in home runs in 2023.
MLB Trade Rumors projects Burnes to earn $15.1 million in arbitration for 2024. He’s been one of the top pitchers in MLB the last four years, with one Cy Young Award (2021) and three other top-eight finishes. His K rate and walk rate are good, though both were down a bit in 2023.
Would you trade Morel, Wicks and Brown for Burnes, assuming you could then sign Burnes to an extension? I wouldn’t do it for one year of him, though.
This poll is closed
... the Cubs should trade for him with the offer noted in the article
... the Cubs should trade for him, but I have a different trade proposal
... the Cubs should trade for him, but only if they can sign him to a contract extension
... the Cubs should not trade for him
Something else (leave in comments)