Possible takeaways from the Phillies bowing out on Burnes
Doubtlessly, Phillies fans are left scratching their heads. Surely they could have afforded Burnes at this price tag?
That said, the Brewers have had a lot of success in developing players internally, with Burnes being the most notable recent example. Their experts could see something in Hall and Ortiz that isn't being appreciated by popular media or public prospect evaluators.
Their ask of the Phillies, had they had one, might not have been as simple as "two prospects similarly ranked to public valuations of the Orioles system." There's a slim chance their ask of a National League rival could've been marginally higher, too, though it's doubtful it would've been so much as to move the needle to a prohibitive cost.
It's also possible the Phillies think very highly themselves of their internal talent. Perhaps Milwaukee would have identified pieces they are not willing to part with, regardless of external rankings.
Finally, there's the matter of the Phillies' current rotation. The supposed weakest link, Cristopher Sánchez, is considered a fantasy sleepout on the verge of a potential breakout campaign. Perhaps the Phillies weren't comfortable bumping him or Taijuan Walker to a swingman role, but that's a lot to swallow.
Wheeler's hypothetical trade value
Phillies fans don't want to consider this bleakest of possible 2024 futures, but if something terrible happens, as it does to great teams every year, the Phillies could consider trading Zack Wheeler at the Trade Deadline.
Wheeler is in the final season of his contract. The Phillies have expressed serious interest in extending him, and some rumors have it as the top item on their to-do list for the remainder of the winter.
If they do manage an extension, this would be a moot point, and if they have an even halfway decent season, it would be a moot point. But if, like Nola a year ago, the situation is unresolved by the end of spring training, Wheeler could be destined for at least a brief tour through free agency.
If anything, in the unlikely case that the Phillies struggle to the point that they would consider selling, the low price for Burnes might eliminate all possibility that they would deal Wheeler. It would likely only be something they would consider if they received an offer that blows them away, because they would still want Wheeler to re-sign in Philly next spring.