For as much flak as the St. Louis Cardinals have received about their organizational dysfunction, the Milwaukee Brewers deserve just as much. The team is reportedly aiming to cut payroll this offseason, and their ace, Corbin Burnes, is the recipient of the cuts. His $15.6 million deal that he signed to avoid arbitration was too much for a team that is reeling financially.
To this point in the offseason, the Brewers have lost their manager, they didn't extend Brandon Woodruff a contract, they lost first baseman Rowdy Tellez to free agency, and there are even rumors they are looking to trade two of their All-Stars in Willy Adames and Devin Williams.
Last year, Corbin Burnes and the Brewers got contentious during their arbitration hearing, so much so that Burnes spoke out against the process. That disagreement paired with the Brewers' desire to get some players in exchange for their impending free agent led to a trade that sent Corbin Burnes to the Baltimore Orioles.
Burnes recently appeared on the Foul Territory show. He was asked if he was surprised to be traded especially after the team signed Rhys Hoskins, a player who shares an agent with Corbin.
"I was definitely shocked. There was shock when I called my agent. It kind of goes counter-productive to some of the sentiment, the comments that were said with the Hoskins signing. It definitely caught everyone off guard."- Corbin Burnes
Later in the interview, the hosts talked about how Milwaukee still could have won in a weaker division. Milwaukee was the supposed favorite after dominating the division last year. There was also talk that the Brewers wanted to beat up on the Cubs after Chicago poached Craig Counsell from them.
"From what I had heard, that was kind of the sentiment. It was like 'Hey, Counsell left, they've got one more year before guys are going to go to free agency. Let's add some pieces; let's go beat the guys, make sure we go beat the Cubs.' I know there was a little bit of bad blood there. I don't know what changed."- Corbin Burnes
The back and forth this offseason surrounding the Brewers' willingness to trade Corbin Burnes was interesting. The team could have made a push for the division title in a soft division, but instead, it seems like they are looking to rebuild.
A Corbin Burnes-less Brewers team makes the division that much easier to win. Until the Chicago Cubs beef up their lineup and until the Cincinnati Reds young players prove their abilities, the Cardinals have every opportunity to win a bad division, especially if they make one more splashy move. Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said as much in his most recent article.
While the St. Louis Cardinals have had their fair share of miscommunications in the last 365 days, at least they are making a push to contend and improve the roster rather than sell off expiring players.