Milwaukee Brewers: Grading the Josh Hader Trade

Matt Carroll
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 20: Josh Hader #71 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after the final out of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at American Family Field on June 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 20: Josh Hader #71 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after the final out of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at American Family Field on June 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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Few saw this one coming. Yet, it was the first major move that the Milwaukee Brewers made for the 2022 MLB trade deadline.

On Monday, the Brewers finally made the trade that many predicted would eventually happen when they sent All-Star closer Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres. In return they received pitchers major league pitchers Dinelson Lamet and Taylor Rogers, minor league pitcher Robert Gasser, and minor league outfielder Esterury Ruiz.

That is a lot of talent for the Brewers to get back in return for one player. But was it enough for a player the caliber of Hader? Let’s take a look at what was given up versus what was received and then grade the overall deal.

What the Brewers gave up in the trade: LHP Josh Hader

If you are a Milwaukee Brewers fan, you are familiar with Josh Hader. The hard-throwing lefty has been piling up strikeouts since he was called up during the 2017 season. By the time his career with the Crew was over, he had amassed four NL All-Star nods and three NL Reliever of the Year awards.

Hader is currently leading the league in saves with 29, had another 34 last year, and led the NL with 13 during the shortened 2020 season. He has a career 2.48 ERA and 0.882 WHIP, batters have hit just .148 off of him since his debut, and he has a whopping 15.4 strikeouts per nine innings for his career. In short, he has dominated.

But there were reasons why it was time to trade him. The likelihood of the Brewers retaining Hader past his arbitration years was extremely slim being a small market team. Even keeping him for his final arbitration year in 2023 was going to be pricey.

And then there is always the fact that high-leverage relief pitchers are notoriously volatile, as in they can go downhill at a moment’s notice. Hader’s recent poor performance isn’t necessarily a sign of that, but who knows when that moment could come. The Brewers already have a young closer-in-waiting in Devin Williams to take over and avoid that possibility.

What the Brewers got in return: LHP Trevor Rogers, RHP Dinelson Lamet, LHP Robert Gasser, OF Esteury Ruiz

It was always thought that if the Brewers were to ever trade Hader that they would have to get a whole bunch of players back in return. That was exactly the case with the deal that went down today.

Taylor Rogers has had a rough go of it over the last couple months just like Hader. But he is right behind Hader in saves with 28, had a 30-save season in 2019 with Minnesota, and has a career 3.29 ERA and 1.146 WHIP largely pitching in late innings. He’ll join the high-leverage relief mix along with Williams and Brad Boxberger.

It’s worth noting that Rogers is a rental unless the Brewers extend him as he is set to become a free agent this offseason.

Dinelson Lamet has flashed a ton of potential at times as a starter and finished 4th in NL Cy Young voting in 2020 but has battled injuries the past couple seasons. The Brewers say he’ll pitch out of the bullpen for now per Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but the Crew could go a number of directions with him in the future.

Esteury Ruiz and Robert Gasser join the minor league organization as the team’s No. 8 and No. 9 prospects per MLB Pipeline. The former is a speed demon who has mashed at Double-A and Triple-A in 2022 and could see time with the Brewers this year while the latter is now the highest ranked pitching prospect in Milwaukee’s system.

Final grade for the trade: A-

You can argue that the Brewers maybe should’ve traded Hader earlier and got more in return. You can also say that it’s worth waiting to see what moves the team is still going to make to know the final impact of this trade.

But on its face, the Brewers traded one of the best relievers in the league and got back two major league pitchers who can help this year’s playoff push, one with an above average history in high-leverage situations and another who has shown a relatively high ceiling at times.

You also get two highly rated prospects who can help in the future and extend the team’s competitive window, something Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns is always looking to do.

Perhaps the team could’ve focused more on hitting or received a bit higher rated of a prospect. But considering they were able to address both their present and their future, it’s hard not to largely consider this deal a win, even being at the cost of Hader.

What is Next for the Brewers After Trading Josh Hader?. dark. Next

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Less than 24 hours remain until the 2022 MLB trade deadline officially passes. Expect more moves from the Brewers between now and then, as well as their corresponding grades.

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