No. 4: The Carlos Gomez Trade
The fourth best present comes as a fortunate turn of events when Carlos Gomez was traded to the Houston Astros instead of the New York Mets.
After a failed deal for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, the Brewers turned around and swung a trade netting a larger return. Milwaukee dealt Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez for Josh Hader, Adrian Houser, Brett Phillips, and Domingo Santana. Fiers was in the middle of a solid season as a middle of the rotation pitcher and even improved his ERA once arriving in Houston. However, he lost his strikeout touch and began his decline into the pitcher he is today.
Carlos Gomez, on the other hand, never experienced the same success in Houston that he had in Milwaukee. His bat fell apart and he wasn’t nearly the same threat on the basepaths. He only began to return to a portion of his old self as a Ranger before moving to Tampa Bay.
The Milwaukee Brewers got a massive return from Houston for the two veterans. Up until last year, Hader, Houser, Santana, and Phillips were the future of Milwaukee. Now only two remain on the roster while the other two were sent away for other pieces.
Brett Phillips was pegged as the excessively talented defensive outfielder with decent speed and potential to grow into a serviceable enough bat. However, stuck in an outfield logjam, Phillips was designated to at best a fourth outfielder role. Yet he produced similar to Brinson, being packaged in a trade for Mike Moustakas this past year.
Domingo Santana, another outfielder plagued by the additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, was also on his way to be the future of the Brewers. Going into the 2018 season, he was one of the most exciting young players after producing as a top 15 outfielder offensively. But he followed up his breakout year with a disappointment in 2018, ensuring his fate of a trade in the offseason.
One of the two left on Milwaukee’s roster is Adrian Houser, a 25-year-old right hander. Though developed as a starter, he has only appeared as a reliever and seems to be on track to settle into that roll. He’s struggled with injuries but has an impressive two pitches that could play well in the bullpen.
Finally comes the star of the deal, Josh Hader. The young, left handed reliever has done nothing but excel thus far in the majors. His strikeout numbers continue to increase, and reached absurd levels this past season. Hader is one of few relievers changing how pitching is handled in baseball in providing a multi-inning fireballer that garners attention without high save totals.