One year ago the Milwaukee Brewers controversially traded star reliever Josh Hader at the deadline to the National League West contending San Diego Padres. The Friars acquired him knowing that they had a 1.5 year window in which they could utilize his closing expertise.
Last year the Padres ended up making it to the NLCS, but were unable to overcome the red hot Philadelphia Phillies. A season later, after adding more talent in the offseason and skyrocketing their payroll, they find themselves four games under .500 at the All-Star break. 8.5 games back in the NL West, and potentially as sellers at this year's trade deadline.
Among the group of players that could be dealt at the trade deadline is Josh Hader. He is on an expiring contract and is in line for a massive deal this offseason. It would be a massive benefit for any contending team to add him and being a rental should keep his cost relatively low.
Could a Josh Hader-Milwaukee Brewers reunion be possible?
This year Josh Hader is having one of his best seasons. He tossed 33.1 innings before the All-Star break and has just a 1.08 ERA. Only one of his four earned runs this year has been due to a home run and he has been unscored upon in his last 12 contests.
On the mound he is striking batters out at a 37.6% clip. and overall has 50 strikeouts on the season. He's converted on 21 save opportunities, which is near the top of the National League. All of this should put him in high demand if the Padres decide to sell at the trade deadline.
This year there has been one trade executed of similar circumstances. Aroldis Chapman, also a left-handed veteran with high-leverage and closing experience, was traded from the Royals to the Rangers for a pitcher who had not yet found big league success and a teenage prospect. He too is a rental player and the cost to acquire was not too steep.
While Chapman is having a resurgent year, Josh Hader is in the prime of his career. A package deal for Hader may require a little bit more prospect capital, but not too much more.
The Padres may wait until as close to August 1 as possible before declaring themselves buyers or sellers. If they do elect to sell and trade Josh Hader the Brewers could look to bring him back. Devin Williams has performed well in the closer's role, but he might be willing to return to the 8th inning role if his friend Josh Hader comes back. It would be poetic if Hader returned at the Deadline, even if it's ultimately unlikely.