Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader is available via trade this offseason, according to Ken Rosenthal’s latest article for The Athletic.
Hader, the winner of back-to-back Trevor Hoffman Awards, would be one of, if not the most tempting player available on the market. Over the last two seasons, he’s thrown 157 innings with just a 2.52 ERA. During that stretch, he’s struck out 16.9 batters per game and walked just 2.9. The 25-year-old won’t be a free agent until 2024 on top of all that. So why would the Brewers want to trade?
Rosenthal speculates a few reasons for the Brewers to bail now on the All-Star reliever. Hader has thrown the second-most relief innings in baseball over the last two seasons. With him qualifying for Super Two status, his cost will grow each year. MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Hader will receive $4.7 million in his first year of arb.
The market is also very hot for left-handed relievers. Old friends Will Smith and Drew Pomeranz signed for a combined $74 million and were some of the first players to come off the market. Pomeranz put up less than 30 innings of relief, but still got a four-year deal from the San Diego Padres.
Ken speculates that the New York Mets could be an interested player in the Hader sweepstakes. The Mets sent Jared Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners just last year to acquire Edwin Diaz. The prospect return can’t be quite comparable because that deal also included a fair amount of salary swapping with the Mariners sending Robinson Cano to New York and taking back Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak. He also mentions the Nationals (who had a miserable bullpen most of the year), Dodgers and Twins as potential fits.
All we can do for the time being is speculate until we learn more. Stearns has shown that he’ll never trade someone without getting what he deems as the right return. If the Brewers do send Hader away, expect a significant package coming back that should include at least some MLB talent.