MLB

Corbin Burnes reveals strained relationship with the Brewers after arbitration

By Sports Desk February 16, 2023

Elite starting pitcher Corbin Burnes feels his relationship with the Milwaukee Brewers has been seriously damaged after his salary arbitration hearing.

Players with between three and six years of service time in the majors are eligible for salary arbitration, which is where both the individual and the team submit a salary figure to an independent arbitrator that they feel is fair.

Burnes, the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner as the National League's best pitcher, submitted a figure of $10.75million, while the Brewers offered $10.01m.

During such a process there is a hearing, where each side presents their case, and oftentimes the scenario whereby a team tries to diminish the value of a star player does not go down well.

That was again the case this time around, with Burnes acknowledging he was disappointed to hear the team disparage his efforts after emerging as one of the best young arms in the sport.

"Obviously, it's tough to hear," he said. "It's tough to take. They're trying to do what they can to win a hearing.

"There's no denying that the relationship is definitely hurt from what [transpired] over the last couple weeks. There's really no way of getting around that.

"You kind of find out your true value. You think you work hard for seven years in the organisation, and five years with the big-league team, and you get in there and basically they value you much different than what you thought you'd contributed to the organisation.

"They won it [the arbitration]. But when it came down to winning or losing the hearing, it was more than that for me.''

He felt the Brewers crossed a line by implying he was the reason the team did not reach the playoffs in 2022, despite leading the National League with a career-high 243 strikeouts.

"That's something that probably doesn't need to be said,'' explained Burnes. "We can go about a hearing without having to do that.

"There was no attacking of character or the person who I was, but just some of the stuff that was said, that definitely didn't need to be said, is something that I think kind of disappointed everyone."

In damage control, Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold put out a statement trying to reiterate the franchise's commitment to their top starter.

"The arbitration process always presents uncomfortable situations for both the club and player involved," he said. "It is never easy to present a case against a member of the Brewers family.

"I'd like to reiterate that we view Corbin as one of the leaders of our franchise and value him as an elite talent in the game. Corbin is a major contributor to the organisation both on and off the field, and we look forward to another outstanding season from him in 2023."

Burnes will be eligible for arbitration again next offseason if the two parties do not strike a long-term extension beforehand, while a trade is now also on the table if Burnes suggests he has no intention of remaining in Milwaukee.

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