How many apples can $740,000 buy?
Choice to go to arbitration with Corbin Burnes is just the latest chapter of organizational ineptitude
Disclaimer: This is going to be a f-word heavy and insult-ridden article as I attempt to represent what I assume are the frustrations of many fans.
There I was, minding my own damn business as the I watched the snow accumulate on the cold ground outside of my Milwaukee home Thursday afternoon.
And then my heart sank as I saw this deeply depressing video pop up on my Twitter timeline.
Adam McCalvy said it perfectly: every fear was founded.
Brewers fans knew this day was coming ever since it was reported earlier this winter that the Brewers and Corbin Burnes had differing opinions on what the 2021 Cy Young Award winning ace should be paid in 2023.
Rather than pay Burnes what he thought he is worth ($10.75M), the Milwaukee Brewers (see: owner Mark Attanasio) chose to go to an arbitration hearing in hopes of keeping Corbin Burnes’ 2023 salary number at $10.01M in his last year of club control before unrestricted free agency.
The difference between the Brewers number and Burnes’ number? $740,000.
The decision by Mark Attanasio was nothing short of fucking embarrassing for the franchise and puts the shallow pockets of a cheap owner on full display for fans to see.
It’s fucking embarrassing
No fewer than 10 people reached out to me on Twitter or Discord in the immediate fallout of Adam McCalvy’s video being posted to Twitter.
So why don’t we break down what Corbin Burnes had to say about this embarrassment of a franchise.
From the get go, the Brewers’ ace was annoyed he had to spend his Valentine’s Day getting lambasted by the Brewers.
“You kind of find out your true value. You think you work hard for seven years in the organization and five years with the big league team. You get in there and they value you much differently than what you thought you contributed to the organization. It’s tough to hear and it’s tough to take, but they’re trying to win a hearing.”
If the Brewers opinion of Corbin Burnes is anything short of “he is our franchise cornerstone and invaluable to our roster” then we might as well hire fans to work in the front office because they’d be just as useful at recognizing high-end talent.
“(The Brewers) probably could’ve been a little more respectful in the way they went about it.”
Arbitration sucks in general and the MLBPA should do away with it as soon as they can, but just because the Brewers and other teams can be shitty toward their players in hearings doesn’t mean they have to in order to win them. This was ultimately the gut punch for the eventual haymaker…
“There’s no denying the relationship is definitely hurt from what (transpired) over the last couple weeks. There’s no getting around that … When some of the things that are said, for instance putting me in the forefront of the reason why we didn’t make the postseason last year. That’s something that probably doesn’t need to be said, we can go about a hearing without having to do that.”
Oh the Milwaukee Brewers. These stupid motherfuckers. Just babbling fucking idiots. Just 👏 be 👏 cause 👏 you 👏 can 👏 does 👏 not 👏 mean 👏 you 👏 should 👏.
Have some decorum and don’t set your relationship ablaze with the best player on your team, you numbskulls.
Corbin Burnes had a great year while definitely not in his Cy Young form for the latter half of the year (2.43 ERA in 2021 vs. 2.94 in 2022; 7 home runs allowed vs. 23; .940 WHIP vs .965). In August and September, Burnes was admittedly average. In 13 games, Burnes went 4-4 as the Brewers went 7-6 in his games. Burnes had a 3.96 ERA. He finished the year 12-8 and was without a doubt the Brewers most consistent ace.
You would’ve thought the Brewers were trying to draft Victor Wembanyama the way their season tanked after the trade deadline. David Stearns and the Brewers took a .45 Magnum, put it to the figurative head of the team’s vibes and executed them with the Hader trade. That’s why they didn’t make the playoffs. Eric Lauer was right.
The offense was lackluster and the pitching was not any better. But Corbin for sure was not the only reason and for the Brewers to argue as such is despicable.
The rotten apple
The Milwaukee Brewers have always had short, stunted peaks of positive performance in between extended periods of being abysmal and almost unwatchable.
Remember when we were excited over guys like Mike Cameron, Junior Guerra and Chris Carter?
Since I’ve been a cognizant Brewers fan (2006~), the Brewers have been where veterans go to either 1) die. 2) rehash the careers in hopes of another contract.
Historical examples of this include: Jeff Suppan, Francisco Cordero, Matt Garza, Craig Counsell, Jason Kendall, Andrew McCutchen, ARAMIS RAMIREZ. I could go on forever, and ever and ever and ever and ever….
Because for better or worse — I’ll get to that in a minute — the Brewers (again: see Attanasio) refuse to sack up for an extended period of time to REALLY go all in and spend money on players they acquire and develop.
Corbin Burnes’ is the best pitcher in baseball. It may be my opinion, but it’s also the opinion of the MLB
or at least their social media intern.
I could live with going ALL OUT to chase a World Series championship for five to seven years and in turn receive five to seven years of horrendous fucking baseball as the team drafts assets to begin a new era.
But that’s not the ethos of the Mark Attanasio Brewers. Instead, Mark Attanasio begs the team to make moves on the margins while having one and only one huge contract on the books as they try to compete for a wild card spot every year. And as a result, they’ve pissed off the best pitcher they’ve had in a generation.
As David Stearns put it after the Brewers traded Josh Hader to a fellow contender in the San Diego Padres for a haul of players and farm play-…um, excuse me…
puts finger to earpiece
Oh….ok….oh….so you’re telling me they got fucking nothing for him?
Sorry, as I was saying; as David Stearns put it after the Brewers traded Josh Hader to a fellow contender in the San Diego Padres for FUCKING NOTHING — NOT A SINGLE GOD DAMN THING:
“This mix of present Major League talent and high-level prospects furthers our aim to get as many bites out of the apple as possible, and ultimately, bring a World Series to Milwaukee.
The “bites at the apple” mindset — which is based in the variance present in baseball and how any team can make a run in the playoffs in any given year — is total fucking bullshit.
Mark Attanasio’s, and by extension David Stearns’ and now Matt Arnold’s, bites at the apple approach is little more than a money grab at the home playoff game revenue.
And it stems from Mark Attanasio’s desperate need to make a profit off of the team year in and year out because he is fucking poor in comparison to the rest of the owners in major league sports.
The apple approach is disrespectful to the players and fans as team puts profit margins over the true attempts at fielding a championship-caliber team, year in and year out.
And it was a disgusting coincidence that the biggest spit in fans’ face we’ve seen in years came merely weeks after the stingy owner traded Josh Hader because Attanasio couldn’t be bothered to pay him what he was worth.
That being the “celebration” of the 100 millionth fan to pass through the gates of Miller Park/American Family Field.
A 38-hour promo from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1 in which fans could get $6 tickets to any remaining Monday-Thursday game and $6 concession voucher.
Six. Fucking. Dollars. SIX. FUCKING. DOLLARS. TO AN ALREADY OVERPRICED CONCESSION.
Do you fucking realize how fucking insane that is. I could see $10 tickets and concession voucher since 10 is a natural reduction of 100 million. Similar numbers, etc.
But the number six has no business in this celebration and it was purely decided — in my fed-up, angry declaration — by greed.
Which brings me back to my point earlier about how for better or for worse the Brewers refuse to dedicate an era of spending to really try at winning a championship.
Briefly, let’s state a few facts, just for clarity:
All mega-rich folks are a plight on this fucking planet.
Attanasio bought the Brewers for around $223M~ in 2004-2005 and inherited a brand new stadium to boot.
The Milwaukee Brewers are now worth $1.28B, nearly six times more than Attanasio’s initial investment.
Attanasio is now beginning his shakedown of the Wisconsin legislature by asking for $290M of the state’s $7B budget surplus to be put towards the upkeep of American Family Field — which I reiterate, he did not pay for whatsoever when it was built.
Now that we got that out of the way. It is without a doubt for worse. Since 2008, Attanasio has failed to retain star talent the team acquired such as C.C. Sabathia, Zack Greinke, Jean Segura, Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas by refusing to open his checkbook and pay these players contracts they deserve. And now he’s taken a new step into the penny-pinching playbook by refusing to pay the Brewers’ homegrown talent in Josh Hader and Corbin Burnes.
Side note: Could you imagine how cool it would’ve been to see the Brewers pay future hall of famer C.C. Sabathia or Zack Greinke a contract he deserved to make him a Brewer for another half decade or longer? But alas.
Cy Young Award winning aces don’t grow on trees. Neither do Reliever of the Year award winning closers. They’re not fucking apples. They’re fucking humans with emotions who care about being valued and being recognized for their otherworldly talent.
But winning doesn’t matter to Mark Attanasio as much as profit does. It’s an incredible stingy streak to go from not spending money on star players on the field to then asking the state for money to repair the stadium he had no money invested into building.
So I ask of you, loyal reader, where do you think that $740,000 in savings from shorting Corbin Burnes his money — and insulting him in the process — is going? Because it’s sure as fuck not the players and it’s evidently not going into the stadium.
I’ll tell you where it’s going. It’s going to line the owner’s pockets as he continues to suck the lifeblood from a once proud fanbase ready to support their hometown team in full-throated cheers no matter the on-the-field product because baseball is woven into the fabric of Milwaukee.
Instead of excitement for this upcoming season, I have contempt. Because it’s fucking stupid that instead of being thrilled to watch Corbin Burnes pitch every five days, there will now be a dark cloud hanging over each start as we wonder for how many more pitches we will get to see him in a Brewers uniform before he is either traded or sprints for the exit come free agency.
Thanks for everything, Mark.
This is it. You nailed it and how most logical and longstanding Brewer fans are feeling. Team is tone deaf and doesn’t seem to care. We only have one option, make Mark invest or sell by shocking him with low fan support and revenue.