Padres Rumors: San Diego reportedly "enamored" with Corbin Burnes
For a team that's losing two starting pitchers to free agency — Blake Snell and Seth Lugo — the Padres have been curiously quiet on starting pitching. They weren't connected to Aaron Nola before he signed with the Phillies, weren't connected to Sonny Gray before he went to the Cardinals, and haven't made much of a peep about Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Jordan Montgomery, or any of the other big starting pitchers available on the free agent market. So, their reported interest — JP Morosi went as far as to say they and a few other teams were "enamored" with him — in Corbin Burnes makes a bit more sense; if the Padres are trying to cut payroll, getting an arb-eligible player then negotiating with him through a system that usually favors the team, rather than promising a large sum to a player with a lot more agency to stand up for himself, could be a smart course of action.
Burnes is a good choice as a replacement for Snell; despite a rocky start to the season, he pitched to a 3.39 ERA across almost 200 innings, with 200 strikeouts and an eight place finish in Cy Young voting. All in all, Burnes fell just a few tics lower in pitching run value than Snell this season (96th percentile to Snell's 100th), but his chase and especially walk rates were much better than Snell's.
Burnes trade talk has been a little nebulous since his name was floated as a trade candidate at the beginning of the offseason, with a lot of teams being thrown into a pool of speculation but no one team emerging as a favorite yet. It's unclear if the Brewers are even fully convinced that they need to trade him in the first place. Still, Burnes will be an interesting name to watch, even more so to speculate on what the Padres might give up in order to get him.