The Brewers are listening to trade proposals for reliever Josh Hader, but acquiring him would be a huge risk for the San Diego Padres.
The 2021 offseason has been a busy one for San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller. Multiple blockbuster trades for starting pitching and high-end depth signings have made the Padres the talk of baseball. There is, however, one area the team has not improved on, and that is the bullpen.
After contracts for Kirby Yates and Trevor Rosenthal expired, the Padres would seemingly require a high end closer. Multiple sources have confirmed the Padres are interested in a trade for left-handed closer Josh Hader. The question is, should they be?
After winning the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year award in 2018 and 2019, posting a career 2.54 ERA and 68 saves, there is no denying his talent. His career K/9, according to Fangraphs, has been upwards of 16 over the last three years, and he only gets barreled around 10% of the time. Josh Hader is an elite closer. Hader also has multiple years of team control. He will not be a free agent until 2024.
What all of this means is that the Milwaukee Brewers will ask for a huge return in a trade, and rightfully so. Since the Brewers need starting pitching, they are likely to ask for Adrian Morejon or Ryan Weathers, plus a couple more prospects like Steven Wilson and Tirso Ornelas. A trade proposal along those lines should get the ball rolling.
There’s also the contract to consider. Yes, Hader has three years of control, but this season he will make $6.675 million, meaning he could get somewhere around $25 million over the next three seasons of arbitration. Considering Brad Hand signed for $10.5 million, and Liam Hendriks will get $11.333 million this season, it doesn’t seem like much of a bargain. Trevor Rosenthal is still available and could be signed for somewhere in the neighborhood of three years and $30 million. Is Josh Hader that much better than Trevor Rosenthal that we need to give up Morejon to acquire him?
There’s also the character to consider. In 2011, Hader sent multiple blatantly racist, homophobic, and hurtful tweets. He was 17 years old at the time, but the tweets came to the limelight during the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. In a post-game interview, he said, “There’s no excuse for what was said… and I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said…it doesn’t affect my beliefs going on now… this mistake won’t happen again.”
One of his teammates Lorenzo Cain, an African American, gave an interview after the game, “You always get in trouble for things you say when you’re younger… he’s a great guy, I know he’s a great teammate.” Cain said. The team also issued a statement, “His comments are inexcusable, and he is taking full responsibility for the consequences of his actions…Those of us that have come to know Josh do not believe that these posts are representative of his beliefs. He has been a good teammate and contributor to the team in every way.”
His teammates were disappointed but supportive. The team was disappointed but supportive. The people that knew him best chastised him for his previous comments yet defended his current character. As the Padres are looking to bolster the bullpen’s back end, they have many things to consider. The cost of acquiring the player, the contract the player is under, and how he will fit into the clubhouse. With all of these things considered, is it worth it to trade for Josh Hader? Only time will tell.