Brewers: Reacting To Mark Attanasio’s Comments On The Josh Hader Trade

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio speaks during a pregame ceremony before the game between the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 09, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio speaks during a pregame ceremony before the game between the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 09, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

When the Milwaukee Brewers traded away Josh Hader at the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline, many fans were quick to blame Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. The move seemed like a salary dump to reflect the club’s lack of willingness to pay Hader his escalating salary.

For three days after the trade, fans were left to wonder just what was going on as there was silence from Attanasio and from President of Baseball Operations David Stearns about the moves. The trade began to look even more like a salary dump after the Crew DFAed Dinelson Lamet and Stearns stated that Lamet was included to “balance out the deal”.

While balancing out the deal could refer to talent, the fact that he was dumped so quickly led many to believe it was for money purposes. Which made it look more like a salary dump and more blame on Attanasio and Stearns.

When the Brewers returned home for their series against the Reds Friday night, Attanasio and Stearns both spoke to the media to address the controversy.

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio stated that the Josh Hader trade was not due to financial restrictions and that he had nothing to do with it.

Going through the video, here are some thoughts on Attanasio’s comments.

  • “Got a call from David Stearns and Matt Arnold saying ‘We have something we want to do with Josh'”

This was not a mandate from Attanasio to ship Hader out due to money as some have suggested, per Mark. As he puts it, it was Stearns and Arnold who came to him with the trade offer from the Padres that they felt was a good offer that they wanted to accept. You can choose whether you want to believe Attanasio or not as he deflects blame, but it does seem like he’s being honest with this story.

  • “My first many years here, I was criticized that I stuck my nose in too much. And so now maybe I’m being criticized for not sticking my nose in enough”

This is also very true. Attanasio did influence a lot of baseball decisions earlier in his ownership tenure, wanting to acquire players, most of whom did not work out. He was criticized for trying to play GM back then, and rightfully so. So he’s taken a step back from doing that and just lets Stearns and Arnold do their job, and now everyone is wanting him to have stepped in and vetoed the trade. He’s somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place there.

How much role should an owner play? What fans really want from ownership is not Attanasio sticking his nose in or not sticking his nose in. They want him to write blank checks or at least checks big enough for the front office to pay the guys that are good and keep the players they want around. Is that how it works? Perhaps not necessarily, but that’s what most fans would like to see.

  • “Cost cutting had absolutely nothing to do with this. Every player that was available we had the resources to pick up, not only for the balance of this season but for the seasons of their contract. Dollars didn’t come into the mix at all”

The budget was stretched heading into the season in order to sign Andrew McCutchen to a $8.5MM one year contract. The Brewers, according to Attanasio, have the financial resources to have picked up any player on the market. Money was no issue, which is great to hear, but it’s still hard to fully believe that’s true with how they addressed the payroll at the deadline.

  • “I know (Stearns) had a series of other trades he wanted to do that didn’t happen. Every presentation that I give at the start of every season is ‘Goal of winning the World Series'”

Most may have figured it out by now but the way the 2022 Trade Deadline played out for the Brewers was certainly not ‘Plan A’. This was not how they envisioned it going and Stearns had a number of other big moves lined up that he wanted to do for this roster after the Hader deal. They simply didn’t get done.

However, once the trigger gets pulled on that Hader trade, you have to be able to follow through on those other moves. If you aren’t confident enough that you can pull them off, don’t start that first domino. This was a seller’s market and Stearns either misread how the prices would go or he was too quick on the trigger on the Hader trade and didn’t plan out some contingencies ahead of time. Both options are atypical for Stearns.

  • “There were no budget problems either with Juan Soto”

So the Brewers would’ve had the financial resources to add the remainder of Juan Soto’s $17MM salary this year and his escalating arbitration salaries each of the next two years apparently. Well, if that’s the case the Brewers should have enough money to sign Corbin Burnes and/or Brandon Woodruff to a contract extension immediately. If all these financial resources are there, why don’t the Brewers flex them a bit more? Use those financial resources to improve the club.

It was important and necessary for Attanasio to be available to answer these questions that many wanted answered. He consistently points out that even though he’s the owner, the decision was made by Stearns and the front office and he did not stick his nose in as has been his policy in the past few years.

Will these comments change people’s minds? Maybe, maybe not. If you’re convinced Attanasio should sell the team or that he mandated cost cutting, no matter what he says it’s probably not going to change your mind. But it feels more like the baseball ops department envisioned a grand plan for the deadline and it all fell apart after they pulled the trigger on a Hader trade.

Puzzling Decision To Cut Lamet Makes Hader Trade Look Worse. dark. Next

Hopefully with some of these questions answered, fans and players can move on and get back on track and continue the goal of winning a World Series. It may be tougher without Hader, but it’s the path the Brewers have to travel now.