Grading the Brewers-Padres, Josh Hader blockbuster trade
The recent Josh Hader trade to the San Diego Padres shocked the MLB world. Why would the Milwaukee Brewers, a first place team, trade one of MLB’s best relievers? Well, there are reasons which we will discuss in a moment. ESPN MLB insider, Jeff Passan, broke the news and revealed the entirety of the trade.
The return on Josh Hader to Milwaukee is significant: left-handed closer Taylor Rogers, lefty pitching prospect Robert Gasser, outfielder Esteury Ruiz and right-hander Dinelson Lamet, sources tell ESPN. Hader will be a free agent after the 2023 season.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 1, 2022
So who won this trade? The Brewers received a loaded trade package, but the Padres received one of the best relief men in the sport.
Grading the Brewers-Padres Josh Hader trade
Josh Hader was arguably the best reliever in baseball from 2017-2021. The highest opposing batting average he surrendered during that time was .156. Additionally, he posted an ERA of over 3 just once and never posted an ERA of over 4 during that span. In 2021, Hader had a career low 1.23 ERA to go along with 34 saves. He blew just 1 save during the season.
But 2022 has been a different story.
He currently owns a 4.24 ERA. He’s only blown 2 saves, but he is giving up more runs this season. Batters are hitting over .200 against him for the first time as well.
The Padres clearly believe he will turn things around. But there is no question Josh Hader has labored in 2022.
The Brewers received a loaded trade package highlighted by Taylor Rogers. Rogers was acquired by San Diego over the offseason from the Twins. But he has struggled mightily as the Padres closer. Rogers already has 7 blown saves and owns a 4.35 ERA.
But in similar fashion to San Diego’s thinking on Hader, perhaps the Brewers believe Rogers will bounce back with a fresh start.
RHP Dinelson Lamet has superstar potential but has been limited by injuries during the course of his career. The Brewers can utilize him in a starting or relief type of role, since he has done both in his career.
Milwaukee also received a number of intriguing prospects in the deal.
LHP Robert Gasser was the Padres’ No. 7 overall prospect. At 23-years old, Gasser features an impressive 4-pitch arsenal. Many people in the MLB world believe he can turn into a reliable big league pitcher.
Esteury Ruiz was the Padres No. 28 prospect. But don’t let his lower ranking fool you, as this is a player with plenty of potential. Ruiz has already seen big league time and could immediately join the Brewers roster. Milwaukee may also have him start in the minor leagues to further develop. Ruiz is a tremendous athlete who features great speed. He is still coming along as a hitter, but he has a decent glove in the outfield.
Grading the trade
Before we reveal the official trade grade, why would the Brewers trade Josh Hader in the first place?
Milwaukee operates with a small market mindset. Hader is going to be a free agent after next season and the Brewers wanted to capitalize on his value. Yes, he’s struggled in 2022, but his track record suggests he can turn things around.
In the end, I do believe the Padres won the trade. When Hader is right, he is one of the most difficult pitchers in baseball to even make contact against, let alone score runs against. San Diego also didn’t surrender any top 5 prospects. This means they could still trade for Juan Soto.
But I don’t believe Milwaukee was fleeced by any means. The Brewers received a loaded return. Dinelson Lamet could find his bearings in Milwaukee and Robert Gasser has star potential.
Padres trade grade: A
Brewers trade grade: B