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Josh Hader loses to Brewers in arbitration hearing, will earn $4.1 million in 2020

Hader may be the best reliever in baseball, but a lack of saves may have cost him a record payday

Milwaukee Brewers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Off to one of the best starts to a career we’ve ever seen from a reliever, Josh Hader was looking to make history again — this time in a board room.

After unexpectedly being tabbed as a Super Two player — his exact amount of service time ended up being the cutoff for arbitration eligibility this winter — Hader filed for a salary of $6.4 million, a record amount for a first-time arbitration-eligible reliever.

While clearly one of the best and most valuable relief weapons in baseball, arbitration is still largely tied to traditional stats, and without a high saves total, he was always going to have a hard time breaking Jonathan Papelbon’s record. The Brewers filed an offer for $4.1 million instead, and today, arbiters reporedly ruled in favor of the club.

Teams have had a lot of success taking players to arbitration hearings this winter, and this is just the latest. Of the 7 cases that have been heard so far, only one player — the DodgersPedro Baez — won his hearing.

A handful of other cases were settled before the hearing or avoided with long-term extensions, which could also be considered wins for clubs, considering the savings over a player’s salary request they still made.

The Brewers have one other outstanding arbitration case to take care of this year — Brent Suter’s hearing has been reported as taking place in a few days, on February 17th.