The trade that brought Corbin Burnes to the Baltimore Orioles from the Milwaukee Brewers in the offseason was widely regarded as a huge move. Burnes has established himself as one of the premier starting pitchers in baseball over a considerable period of time.

Burnes hails from the relatively small Central Valley California city of Bakersfield. Despite playing in smaller markets like Milwaukee and Baltimore, Burnes is poised to become one of the top pitching free agents. Given his substantial talent and personality, a move to a big market might align well with his career trajectory.

Burnes expressed confidence about potentially moving to a big market, stating, “It doesn’t scare me.”

Market size doesn't matter for Corbin Burnes

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Corbin Burnes (39) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Tropicana Field.
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

“Fan bases in general want to see a guy come in and play hard and do everything they can to help the team and the city. Whether it’s a small market, midsized market or big market, you need to come in and compete every day,” said Burnes via John Heyman of the New York Post.

When Baltimore traded for Burnes, many thought it was a short-term move. While Burnes doesn't completely rule out anything happening in the summer, he prefers not to discuss such matters during the season.

“I think at this point, I would be doing these guys a disservice by taking my focus away from this year and our ultimate goal of winning the World Series,” said the Orioles pitcher.

The O's should think about their long-term strategy if Burnes ends up being a short-term addition. While he's a valuable asset to their rotation this year, trading a solid prospect, an emerging pitcher, and a compensation pick for him suggests they should avoid making similar moves on a regular basis.

But sources indicate that the Orioles are not actively pursuing a contract extension with Burnes while the season is ongoing. While Rubenstein's ownership may bolster their long-term prospects, the team is also keen on securing the future of homegrown talents like Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, among other promising players on their talented young roster.

The Orioles always going for broke

Baltimore might opt for a short-term solution at this point, considering options like Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery or even Michael Lorenzen. They seem hesitant to commit to a long-term contract that extends beyond this season, especially given the possibility of persuading Burnes to remain in Baltimore.

The Orioles' trade for Burnes marked their bet on 2024 as a World Series year. They've come halfway across this channel, and despite the obstacles they've faced, they're not turning back but pressing on with their commitment.

Baltimore has been hitting home runs like crazy, leading the MLB with 116 so far. Players like Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman are locks for the All-Star Game.

Ryan Mountcastle, Ryan O’Hearn, and Jordan Westburg have also been consistently reliable. Even veterans like Anthony Santander, who has been hitting more home runs in June, and Austin Hays, who had a slow start, are starting to bounce back from their slumps.

Corbin Burnes with the Orioles

Burnes has been performing exceptionally well for the Orioles, living up to the team's high expectations. Although it’s still not quite halfway through the season, Baltimore's record of 48-25 is impressive, with only the Yankees (51-25) having a better record in the American League.

In the end, Burnes might thrive in a larger market. His self-assurance is well-founded, and when given an opportunity, it shines through.

This season, he has continued to perform at a high level (8-2, 2.14 ERA), although intentionally dialing back on strikeouts compared to his record-setting pace in the past. Nonetheless, Corbin Burnes is confident in his ability to deliver a strikeout when necessary.

The Orioles kicked off this season with a bold move, trading valuable assets to acquire one of baseball's top aces, propelling them to an impressive start.

While maintaining this momentum might require more investment than anticipated, considering what the team has already spent, it makes little sense to back down now. They've made significant progress, and it's best to continue pushing forward.