Corbin Burnes' latest comments could make him perfect Yankees free agent target

Seems like Burnes wants exactly what the Yankees want.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Baltimore Orioles Photo Day / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Unlike Blake Snell, current Baltimore Orioles starter Corbin Burnes' free agent desires might mirror the Yankees' preferences one-to-one.

This winter, Burnes was -- against all odds -- available in trade talks, and though the Yankees attempted to acquire him, they ultimately came up short. If only they were a preferred Brewers trading partner like Baltimore was. Then they might've been able to secure him in exchange for a top-100 third base prospect and left-handed reliever rather than surrendering all-world prospect Spencer Jones as a starting point.

Alas, Burnes went to Baltimore, where he'll act as a pretty solid piece of insurance in case Kyle Bradish's UCL doesn't heal and Grayson Rodriguez's development stalls.

Burnes is a Scott Boras client, meaning he will certainly test free agency next winter, no matter how much fun he has in Baltimore. Some Boras clients seek massive, record-setting paydays when they align with MLB's most powerful super agent (as of last offseason, 2023 update still pending). Others seek long-term security, in a dueling effort to both provide for their families and avoid ever doing this again. Considering the pedigree of the players who choose Boras, most typically end up with both.

Consider Burnes someone who seems prepared to prioritize length over AAV. Already scarred by the Brewers' attempts to devalue him in arbitration last season, which frayed their relationship to the point of no return, Burnes has no interest in the "fun" of testing free agency. Presumably, he'll only want to sign one more lengthy contract for the remainder of his MLB career. That's where the Yankees come in. Forget short-term tax raisers; their favorite trick is to spread a contract out to minimize AAV (think DJ LeMahieu's six-year deal).

If Burnes happens to come up during Brian Cashman's conversations with Boras regarding Juan Soto (and Gerrit Cole's opt-out/added year), then it's possible New York will have the inside track, given their preferred contract strategy.

Corbin Burnes wants to enter free agency only once. Yankees jackpot?

Give Burnes credit, too. "Testing free agency" with Scott Boras in charge used to be a lot more fun before Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell tried it on for size. Now, the two left-handers -- one coming off his second Cy Young, one coming off being integral to a World Series run -- are still looking for work.

Maybe Baltimore's new ownership group prioritizes Burnes and wraps the conversations up quickly. Maybe the right-hander becomes so essential to the fabric of the developing young powerhouse that they can't envision letting him walk for even one second.

Or maybe friction develops in 2024, and it's more of an imperfect fit than it seems at first blush. Maybe Baltimore's priorities lie elsewhere. Maybe Mike Elias and his new-age front office would rather pay big now for an ace before any potential deterioration sets in.

The Yankees would prefer to do the exact opposite. Soon enough, it'll be time to confirm the alignment of both parties' priorities.

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