When the Baltimore Orioles traded for Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes and everybody saw the return, the same question was asked: "Why wasn't my team in these talks more aggressively?!" That was certainly the first thing that New York Yankees fans started to rage about.
It was a valid concern. The Orioles surrendered their Nos. 6 and 7 prospects, in addition to a draft pick. The prospects definitely didn't make it feel as if the O's had properly absorbed the painful impact a blockbuster deal like this is supposed to cause. And the comp pick? Come on now.
The Yankees going the extra mile here felt totally doable. What would that have entailed? Roderick Arias/Brando Mayea would've been the "equivalent" based on prospect rankings. Maybe they could've sweetened the deal with Chase Hampton alongside one of those guys, since they'd be getting an ace in return. Arias/Mayea, Hampton and ... Jorbit Vivas? Maybe, who knows.
This week we learned the Yankees deemed the Brewers' asking price too high in their talks. Fans suspected that meant Milwaukee was asking for something much different when negotiating with New York, but nobody knew for sure.
It better have been that way, at least, or everyone really would've been mad. Turns out, that was exactly how it went, per MLB insider Jon Heyman.
Yankees Rumors: Brewers wanted Spencer Jones in exchange for Corbin Burnes trade
Heyman revealed the Brewers were indeed asking for No. 2 prospect Spencer Jones. He didn't detail if the Brewers wanted more than that, but if that's the starting point, it's an incredibly hard sell.
Jones is one of the most gifted prospects in all of baseball and has received Aaron Judge comps. That doesn't make him untouchable, but for one year of Burnes, who is undoubtedly hitting free agency because he's a Scott Boras client? That's a lot. Not to mention, the Yankees are paying double on every expenditure after exceeding the third luxury tax threshold, meaning Burnes' $15 million would've run Hal Steinbrenner $30 million. They can obviously afford that, but now you're overpaying in both departments.
All this does is further confirm the "Yankees Tax" around the league in trade talks, as well as opposing front offices taking joy in blackballing Brian Cashman and the front office. Those in opposition might point to the Juan Soto trade and how that wasn't too much of an obstacle for New York ... and that's because they were the only destination able to suit the Padres' needs with an excessive amount of pitching.
The point still stands: the Yankees remain a negotiating chip for every single front office and free agent out there. It will never change. The team has largely done a great job working around that, but the unnecessary obstacles that remain certainly impact how the Yankees can build their roster or fix their issues.