Brewers spurning Yankees in Corbin Burnes trade wasn't so ridiculous after all

Texas Rangers v Milwaukee Brewers
Texas Rangers v Milwaukee Brewers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Prying Brewers ace Corbin Burnes loose this offseason felt like a pipe dream -- until the Baltimore Orioles did it.

Even with one year left to go before Burnes, angered by Brewers brass in his pre-2023 arbitration hearing, tested the free agent market and likely departed, this was an NL Central favorite shucking a Cy Young out of their rotation following the loss of Brandon Woodruff. No wonder they asked the Yankees for Spencer Jones, we all scoffed. They weren't serious about moving Burnes unless they could rip the Bombers off in the process.

The discourse only served to make Yankee fans more apoplectic when the Brewers settled on a "lesser" package from the O's top-notch farm instead, targeting slick-fielding infielder Joey Ortiz, swingman DL Hall, and a draft pick in exchange for a year of ace production. That was it? Did nobody in the Brewers front office memorize FanGraphs' Top 100 list?!

As it turns out (jaw on the floor), Milwaukee knew what they were doing when they took the package they preferred, even with Hall stalling out thus far (7.71 ERA, injured since April, potential still unfulfilled).

According to OAA, Ortiz has been the best defensive third baseman in the game. Offensively, he's more than held his own, posting an .817 OPS, .373 OBP and meriting All-Star consideration (though he hit the IL on Wednesday, likely eliminating him from the festivities). Despite Jones' surge in June, it's tough to justify placing him above Ortiz in any power ranking of either future or current impact. If you're going to trade Burnes and try to stay atop the Central, adding Ortiz seems like a pretty thoughtful way to accomplish your goals. No "Yankees Tax" to be found here.

Brewers chose correctly in Joey Ortiz vs. Spencer Jones decision

We can't all be Paul Skenes (though that would be a fun icebreaker at parties), but Ortiz has certainly made his mark in a top-heavy NL Rookie of the Year field. If nothing else, his season has been one of many fun reminders that one should never doubt the Milwaukee Brewers. They might not retain talent as the price increases, but they will always replace it and stay afloat (or better).

And yes, that includes talent at the managerial position.

Will Jones eventually solidify all his electrifying tools into a game-breaking package? It's possible. He might've put the puzzle together in June, when he posted a .905 OPS at Double-A, hitting .296 with six bombs and playing elite-level defense. But the Brewers already had a tooled-up outfielder in Jackson Chourio, and their top prospect was more MLB ready than Jones. Now, they've got one of the NL's best young third basemen, too.

It's not always about screwing over the Yankees (though, undoubtedly, when rivals have the chance to do so, it doesn't hurt). The best part? New York still has Jones learning and developing on their dime, and anything short of a World Series ring makes this trade a more significant loss than anticipated for Baltimore.