The San Diego Padres have acquired Josh Hader in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. Hader has dominated the late innings for the Brewers, cementing himself as one of the best relievers in baseball. Now, he’s headed to the Padres, who seem to be pushing all the chips in for a World Series run.
In return for Hader, Milwaukee received reliever Taylor Rogers, Dinelson Lamet, and prospects Robert Gasser and Esteury Ruiz, per Jeff Passan.
Why was Hader traded?
This move surprised the baseball world considering the Brewers are 57-45 and currently hold a three game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. Teams in first place don’t typically sell off stars, but Milwaukee saw an opportunity to maximize his value.
Hader will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and Devin Williams is waiting in the wings to become the team’s closer. One can argue at this point, Williams has already surpassed Hader, especially given Hader’s recent struggles.
San Diego is gunning for a championship and likely isn’t done making moves. It remains possible they trade for superstar Juan Soto, considering they kept the top prospects deemed necessary for such a trade.
The rundown on Hader
Hader is unique in a multitude of ways. He has a sidearm release that helps deceive batters and boosts his fastballs viability up in the zone. However, that fastball is actually a sinker, despite his tendency to elevate it. Hader can keep it in the upper-90s and uses it to complement a wipeout slider, too.
After starting the year strong, Hader scuffled in July, inflating his ERA to 4.24. Still, his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 3.47 and xFIP (expected FIP) of 2.41 help alleviate concerns. There’s no doubt the Padres’ trade for Hader netted them an elite late inning arm.
The return for the Josh Hader trade
A mix of big-league talent and prospects makes the Brewers intriguing beneficiaries in this deal. Rogers has also seen his share of struggles, but remains one of the top lefty arms in the sport. Now, he’ll likely be Williams’ set up man. The (also) side-arming southpaw has a 4.35 ERA and 2.35 FIP in 2022.
Lamet broke out during the 2020 season, but has struggled to perform amidst lingering injury concerns. He’s a project for one of baseball’s best coaching staffs to work on.
According to Baseball America, Ruiz and Gasser were the eighth and ninth best prospects in San Diego’s farm system, respectively. Ruiz is a toolsy outfielder who has made significant improvements in 2022. Gasser, a left-handed pitcher, will sit in the low-90s but offers impressive command and secondary offerings. He projects as a future back-end starter.
Ultimately, this deal was surprising, but not necessarily bad for either team. The Brewers were likely to lose Hader in 15 months anyway. In the Josh Hader trade, they balanced their present and future needs well. Nobody will care what San Diego gave up if they’re raising a trophy in October, and they’ve kept enough ammo to keep that dream alive with additional moves.