Orioles' Corbin Burnes trade was hands down the best of offseason after early results

The Corbin Burnes trade could go down as the best trade made by any team last offseason, but it is going to be very close.
Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles
Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

The Baltimore Orioles finally made a trade for a true impact player in Corbin Burnes last offseason. Many observers openly wondered if Baltimore's front office was ever going to dip into their wealth of prospects to make a big time move, given their tendency to hoard them. However, Mike Elias and co. identified an opportunity to address a key roster need and actually pulled the trigger.

Last offseason was a weird one league-wide, as there wasn't nearly as much action as many thought, other than the Dodgers going absolutely wild and Juan Soto landing in the AL East (get him out of here). Not only did some of the top free agents like Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery have to settle for short-term deals (they can thank Scott Boras for that), but there also weren't a ton of trades, either. However, the Burnes trade is among a group of four trades that had huge implications for the 2024 season.

While all the moves can currently be characterized as quite good, the Orioles' trade for Burnes may turn out to be the best of the bunch.

There were some great trades last offseason, but the Orioles' trade for Burnes may end up being the best

First, we have to look at the contenders for the best trade last offseason. The only qualifiers here are that the moves had to be impact moves for difference-making players. We love turning nickels into quarters as much as anybody, but this grouping is meant for the moves that truly move the needle in the standings, and five maneuvers stick out.

  • Orioles trade for Corbin Burnes
  • Yankees trade for Juan Soto
  • Dodgers trade for Tyler Glasnow
  • Braves trade for Chris Sale
  • Padres trade for Dylan Cease

We'll start with the Juan Soto trade and, as painful as it is to say, Soto has been incredible for the Yankees, starting the year with a .313/.409/.569 line and 13 homers. However, the Yankees only get him for this year and are going to have to fork over at least half a billion dollars to keep him long-term. For that single year of Soto (along with Trent Grisham, who has been terrible), New York had to give up a slew of pitching, including high upside arms Michael King and Drew Thorpe. As good as Soto has been, the Yankees had to give up a lot to make that move happen, as well aspay Soto $31 million in 2024.

The Padres actually paid a good price for Cease, considering what the White Sox were rumored to be asking for earlier in the offseason, and he comes with extra team control, but San Diego also lost multiple All-Stars -- including Soto -- over the offseason and Cease has looked vulnerable at times in 2024.

Then we have the "genius if they stay healthy" moves with the trades for Glasnow and Sale. Glasnow is arguably the most suspect of these two, as not only has the Dodgers' new ace never pitched more than 120 innings in a season, but LA gave up a really good young pitcher in Ryan Pepiot to get him, then extended Glasnow on a nine-figure deal. If Glasnow all of sudden is an iron man, this move will look great, because he is filthy when he is on the mound.

The Chris Sale trade has a better argument, as the Braves only gave up Vaughn Grissom to land him and got the Red Sox to pay his 2024 salary, which is hilarious. On the flip side, he too, is a walking injury risk, and is also getting up there in years. Could look great down the road, but still spooky given his trouble staying healthy over the last few years.

That leaves the Corbin Burnes trade. Yes, it is only for one year of his services, which stinks, and given that Burnes' agent is Scott Boras, it is likely only to be for one year. However, it is looking right now that Burnes' one year in Baltimore is going to be a Cy Young caliber season, and the price that the Orioles paid was more than reasonable in a defense-first shortstop prospect in Joey Ortiz, DL Hall (who has an ERA close to 8.00), and a comp round draft pick. All for a guy with little to no history of injuries and a lot to prove ahead of his pending free agency.

It could end up being close and the ultimate result will be determined by how these guys' teams end the season, but Baltimore's trade for Burnes has a very real shot of being the best trade of last offseason.

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