Josh Hader is making his return to American Family Field this weekend as the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres square off for a weekend series. He last pitched in Milwaukee on July 26, 2022 when he threw a scoreless ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins and then Luis Urias hit a walk-off sac fly. His next outing, three days later in Boston, was his last in a Brewers uniform.
At the time of his departure to San Diego, Josh Hader was slumping for perhaps the first time in his career. That slump initially continued with the Padres as he blew a few saves and he had a disastrous six earned run outing while recording just one out against the Kansas City Royals.
However he built some momentum over his last 10 regular season games with the Padres as he was not scored upon and he picked up six more saves. In the postseason he made five appearances, struck out 10 batters, did not allow a run, and recorded four saves.
During the off-season the Padres tendered him a contract in which he earned the highest arbitration salary ever of a relief pitcher at $14.1MM. He now is pitching in the final year of team control and will be a free agent when the 2023 season ends. So far he has set himself up nicely for a massive pay day.
How has Josh Hader performed during the 2023 season?
Josh Hader has looked more like his normal self this year. The 29 year old southpaw has a 0.81 ERA over 47 appearances, a 39.9% k rate, and has 27 saves. San Diego has used him similar to how Milwaukee did in that he pitches almost strictly in the ninth inning only and he has just two extra inning appearances and one outing where he came in during the eighth inning.
All of this sets up what should be a fun return to Milwaukee for Josh Hader. Fans knew it was inevitable that he was going to be traded, but his departure was rather abrupt and a little over a year later he is finally returning to the grounds where his career took off.
Both the Brewers and Padres are in the middle of a playoff race. Unlike last year Milwaukee is sitting in a better position then San Diego as the Padres are fighting for their playoff lives, so he should get a nice ovation if he appears in a game during this series.