MLB Notebook: Orioles acquire Milwaukee ace Corbin Burnes, Mariners trade for Jorge Polanco, and more

Brett Holden
2 months ago
Other teams around the American League not named the Toronto Blue Jays pulled the trigger on trades that made them better this week. The AL East Champs got a lot better and a Wild Card competitor improved as well.
Let’s get into it in Friday’s MLB Notebook.

Corbin Burnes traded to the Orioles:

The Milwaukee Brewers have traded former Cy Young Award Winner, Corbin Burnes to the Baltimore Orioles. In the deal, the Orioles will send MLB Pipeline’s No. 63 prospect, SS Joey Ortiz, LHP DL Hall, and a 2024 Draft pick, to the Milwaukee Brewers. 
Corbin Burnes won his Cy Young Award back in 2021 after posting an 11-5 record, an MLB-best 2.43 ERA, and striking out 234 batters. There was a bit of a dip in Burnes’ numbers in 2023. His ERA rose to 3.39, and he walked 66 batters, but he still received enough votes to finish eighth in the Cy Young Award voting last season.
Burnes will be joining a stacked rotation in Baltimore; Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, John Means, and Dean Kremer. Earlier this winter, the Orioles also added shutdown pitcher, Craig Kimbrel, adding to the powerful O’s bullpen that already includes Yennier Cano and Danny Coulombe.
On the Brewers’ side, they are adding some exciting futures. Joey Ortiz, who was the Orioles No. 6 prospect in the organization, played in 15 games with the big club last season.
Unfortunately for Ortiz, the Orioles have a surplus of infielders who could make a major impact in the future. 2023 AL Rookie of the Year, Gunnar Henderson cemented himself as a major leaguer last season as the youth took over Camden Yards. Jordan Westburg played 64 games for the O’s last season, and 2022 first-overall pick, Jackson Holliday, who was named MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 prospect in baseball, will also likely make his MLB debut in 2024. Too many cooks. Not enough space for everyone to play.
The Brew Crew will also acquire DL Hall, who got into 18 games with the Birds last season, posting a 3-0 record, 3.26 ERA, and 23 strikeouts in 19.1 innings. Hall started as a top pitching prospect for the Orioles back in 2017, after the O’s picked him with the 21st pick in the 2017 draft. After some struggles containing his walks and some injury issues, Hall was shifted to the bullpen. 
In a division with some of the best rotations in the game, the Orioles have just raised the bar. 

Jorge Polanco traded to the Mariners:

Rumours have been swirling around Jorge Polanco all offseason, and earlier this week, the hammer finally dropped. On Monday, the Minnesota Twins traded Polanco to the Seattle Mariners for an absolute haul. RHP Justin Topa, RHP Anthony Desclafani, and prospects OF Gabriel Gonzalez and P Darren Bowen will go to Minnesota the other way. 
The Mariners have been very active this offseason, as they have brought in OF Mitch Haniger, C Mitch Garver, OF Luke Raley, and INF Luis Urias, and have moved out some big names like 3B Eugenio Suarez, OF Teoscar Hernandez, OF Jarred Kelenic, and SP Robbie Ray. Polanco will settle into that opening that Suarez has left on the M’s infield and will likely add a bit more consistency and contact to the lineup. 
In 2023, Eugenio Suárez struck out 214 times, 126 more times than Jorge Polanco. In fact, in the past two seasons, Jorge Polanco has only struck out 183 times, still considerably less than Suárez all season. Polanco, who is a former All-Star and finished 13th in MVP voting back in 2019, can play the hot corner as well, playing 24 games in his career. 
This trade will be the second time Anthony Desclafani has been traded in the last month. On January 5th, the San Francisco Giants traded Mitch Haniger and Desclafani to Seattle in exchange for Robbie Ray. Joining Desclafani will be 20-year-old Gabriel Gonzalez, who was the No. 3 prospect in the Mariners organization and the 79th-best prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. 
The Twins have a relatively underwhelming farm system. Heading into 2023, Minnesota had the 19th best farm system in baseball, so adding to their system is a big positive. Plus, the Twins bullpen has now added two more arms to the already impressive group. 
This was a trade that made sense for both sides. Now, will it work out for both sides? 

Justin Turner signs with the Blue Jays:

The Toronto Blue Jays have finally made their marquee signing of the offseason, as they signed DH Justin Turner to a one-year, $13 million deal on Tuesday. Turner will likely slot in at the clean-up spot for the Jays as they add that power they have been looking for all winter.
Justin Turner would have sat second on the Jays in batting average with a .276, second on the team in home runs with 23, and first in RBIs with 96. Despite his age (Turner turned 39 in November), Justin Turner has shown that he can still be a productive hitter, never mind a top hitter on his team. 
But that has been the type of player Turner always has been. After getting DFA’d by the New York Yankees after the 2013 season, Turner went into the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and absolutely transformed himself as a player. At the age of 29, Turner looked like a whole new player and since then has received votes in the MVP race three years in a row, is a two time All-Star, and a World Series Champion, all after turning 30. 
If Turner can produce even slightly similar to his 2023 output, he will help the Jays tremendously, which kind of says something about the Jays lineup. 
It’s no secret the Jays struggled offensively last season, leading to a very disappointing finish to the year. Toronto’s massive issue, and one of the missing pieces, was a power bat. A pure lack of leaving the yard severely hindered the Jays, especially when players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk struggled to find their way at the plate.
Consistency has always been a strong part of Turner’s game. Since joining the Jays in 2014, Turner hasn’t had a batting average below .275 and has hit over .300 four times since his 30th birthday. With the youth the Jays are expected to integrate onto the big club in the near future, learning from a pro like Turner is beyond ideal. A guy who has been released to being a key part of a Championship team, players like Davis Schneider, Spencer Horwitz, and Orelvis Martinez could learn a lot from Turner. 
It seems like this signing will likely be the last from the Jays. However, Turner’s time at third base has severely decreased in recent seasons, and the Jays currently don’t sit with an everyday 3B. Could the Jays still be looking at adding another infielder that can play 3B? Could they also look to bring back Matt Chapman, even though he would be another righty bat to the line up? Or could the Jays still be in on Cody Bellinger and look to add that lefty power they lost with Brandon Belt? A lot still remains in the air for the Jays, but signing Justin Turner should ease the pressure from fans for a little bit. 

Quick Notes:

  • The Oakland Athletics have acquired Ross Stripling from the San Francisco Giants. The A’s will send minor league IF Jonah Cox as the A’s bring in a second pitcher in a week. 
  • Dodgers reconstruct James Paxton’s new contract. After finding something that concerned the Dodgers during his physical, the Dodgers have reduced his total guarantee from $11 million to $7 million. 
  • Theo Epstein has returned to the Boston Red Sox in a new front-office role. Epstein will join the Fenway Sports Group as a senior adviser and will not be responsible for personnel decisions. 
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was named as MLB The Show 24 cover athlete. Vladdy’s father graced the cover in 2006 as they became the first father-son pairing to be cover athletes for the series. 


Check out these posts...