Heading into the offseason, the trade market contained a handful of veteran starters who were a year from free agency and widely expected to be available — Tyler Glasnow, Shane Bieber and perhaps Corbin Burnes chief among them. Glasnow has already changed hands, going from Tampa Bay to Los Angeles and signing an extension — which the two parties agreed upon as a contingency of the trade becoming official. Bieber is still with the Guardians. But as earlier this month, like Glasnow, he was reportedly open to discussing a long-term deal following a trade.
Fans of rival clubs may be eyeing Burnes and envisioning a similar outcome, but the right-hander himself effectively quashed any such hopes in an appearance with Erik Kratz, A.J. Pierzynski and Hannah Keyser on Foul Territory (video link). Asked by Kratz about the possibility of taking the same path Glasnow did, Burnes replied:
“Being in my shoes, being a year away from [free agency], I think if a trade-and-extension type of deal came up — obviously, every guy that gets this close to free agency wants to test the market to see what your true dollar amount is, see what teams really are in on you. It would have to be something that would just absolutely blow you away to get you away from testing the free agent market and being able to choose where you want to go. I think that’s one thing every player in their career wants to get to. Once you get that six years of service time — which for a lot of guys takes seven, eight, sometimes nine years to get to — you get that chance to test the market and see what your top dollar is.”
Burnes, of course, is speaking in generalities. The majority of players ostensibly share his sentiment, but Glasnow has now twice signed an extension in lieu of reaching free agency, and we’ve seen plenty of players over the years hammer out a long-term deal when they’re less than a calendar year from reaching the market. It’s rarer, although hardly unprecedented, with an expected top-of-the-market free agent. Rafael Devers, Stephen Strasburg and Xander Bogaerts are just a few examples of prominent, All-Star-caliber talents signing an extension after reaching five years of big league service.
Still, Burnes’ comments seemingly align with most star-level players and shouldn’t be taken as a surprise. That’s particularly true given that he’s a client of the Boras Corporation, whose players tend to gravitate toward free agency. (Although, again, that’s a…