Since 2019, Brewers closer Josh Hader has been the center of several hypothetical trade proposals.
As Brewers fans, by now we aren’t all that surprised to see trade packages that seem a bit far-fetched or light in return. What is difficult for outsiders to understand is that a trade for arguably the best active reliever in baseball and potentially the best ever in the Brewers franchise, is that the organization will not sell themselves short if they do decide to trade him.
Call it coincidence, or maybe not, but the New York Mets have often times been viewed as a team that would have intriguing pieces to offer up in a Hader trade package. In 2019, our site evaluated what a trade package may look like. In 2020, a doozy of a proposal from Jim Duquette received attention, but mainly for being on the far-fetched side. Now in 2022, we are going to break down a fan’s proposal that is actually more on the reasonable side.
Could this trade proposal involving the Brewers and Mets for Josh Hader actually work?
The Mets Involved In This Trade Proposal
Jeff McNeil busted onto the major league scene in 2018. In his first three seasons he hit over the .300 bench mark along with a136 wRC+ in 2018, 144 in 2019, and 131 in 2020. Unfortunately in 2021, a hamstring injury early in the season sidelined him and he never was able to get back to the offensive level of years prior.
At 29 years old, the second baseman/outfielder is entering his first year of arbitration and according to MLB trade rumors is projected to earn $2.8 MM. His positional versatility, three seasons of club control, and offensive potential as a table setter makes him an intriguing player in this trade.
Dominic Smith is a former first round pick that was drafted 11th overall in the 2013 MLB draft. He made his major league debut in 2017 and currently has not established himself as an every day starter in the major leagues. Rather, he is viewed as a backup outfielder who additionally has experience playing first base.
Similar to McNeil, Smith is also entering his first year of arbitration. His projected earnings for 2022 comes in at $4.0 MM. He does have two major league options remaining, but is expected to play and contribute primarily at the MLB level.
Lastly, right handed pitcher J.T. Ginn was added into the trade proposal. Ginn is currently the Mets fifth ranked prospect and just completed his first professional baseball season in which he made 18 starts and posted a 3.03 ERA. His time last season was spent at both the Low-A and High-A levels.
As for his stuff, Ginn has a fastball that can reach 95-97 MPH. His slider is his best secondary pitch while the changeup is still developing. Like Brandon Woodruff and Ethan Small, Ginn is a Mississippi State alum, where the Brewers have had good luck turning out pitchers who played at that university.
Would both sides agree to this deal?
Jim Bowden believes both sides would agree to this deal. If this deal was made after the lockout, the Brewers would be giving up their final two seasons of club control with Josh Hader. In return they would receive a player who is looking for a bounce back 2022 season, an outfielder/first baseman, and a highly regarded pitching prospect. All acquired players would come with a minimum of three more years of club control.
The pros to this package is that the Brewers receive two players who are ready to contribute at the major league level. However, the question would be where would they play? Kolten Wong would block McNeil’s playing time at second base and he likely would not beat out anyone for a starting outfield job. It is possible they could explore shifting McNeil to third base, but his arm strength and the emergence of Luis Urias quickly bring doubts to that possibility.
Similarly, Dominic Smith would have to compete with Tyrone Taylor for the fourth outfield spot. With Smith being a left handed batter, there really isn’t a platoon option for him at first base as left handed slugger Rowdy Tellez is expected to get a majority of the playing time. Smith could beat him out, but how much of an improvement would Smith be over Tellez?
Given this, I would say the Brewers say no to this deal. While it is refreshing to see a trade package where the Brewers receive two major league players, the fit for the proposed players is not the best given the current makeup of the team. Although, that hasn’t stopped David Stearns before.
Perhaps someday the perfect trade will be proposed for a talent like Josh Hader demands a lot in return.