The Milwaukee Brewers could go any number of ways at the trade deadline this summer. Typically, a team that is under .500 would be inclined to sell off deal away some players and gain some prospects who could help in future seasons. But in a year when eight teams from each league will make the playoffs, the Brewers are still very much in the postseason picture with one month left to play. David Stearns is surely keeping himself open to all possibilities at this point, and that appears to include a potential deal for ace reliever Josh Hader.
Ken Rosenthal reported earlier in the week that the Brewers are indeed “listening” to offers for Josh Hader. Robert Murray added that some teams had expressed concern regarding a slight decrease in fastball velocity, but that reportedly has not stopped Milwaukee from asking for a “bananas” price in order to part with the left-hander. Despite an average heater of 94.7 MPH (down from 95.9 MPH last season), Hader has still logged 9.1 scoreless, hitless innings with five walks and 13 strikeouts. He has locked down seven saves as he’s remained in the capital-C Closer role for the Brewers this year.
Hader continues to dominate, and after earning a prorated portion of $4.1 mil this season as a Super Two player, the 26 year old will be under arbitration control for three more years going forward. It’s little mystery why a talented young team like the 20-14 Padres would have interest in acquiring the two-time defending NL Relief Pitcher of the Year, as Robert Murray reported yesterday afternoon:
Sources: Padres among teams to check in on Brewers’ Josh Hader.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) August 28, 2020
If any organization could meet the high asking price it will reportedly take to make a trade for Hader, it would be San Diego. They currently have six top-100 prospects according to MLB Pipeline — Mackenzie Gore (5), CJ Abrams (26), Luis Patino (28), Luis Campusano (54), Taylor Trammell (60), and Robert Hassell (85). The Padres also have an enviable collection of young talent at the MLB level, including Fernando Tatis, Jake Cronenworth, Josh Naylor, Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, Adrian Morejon, and, err, Trent Grisham.
If the Brewers do end up dealing Hader, the package that comes back in return could go a long way towards filling some glaring organizational holes. The team could use additional candidates as possible long-term solutions at first base, third base, in the outfield, behind the plate, and of course, no club can have too many arms.
One potential obstacle to a deal between these two teams is the fact that neither the Brewers nor the Padres have signed up to participate in MLB’s data sharing service from the alternate training sites (only about 2⁄3 of the league has joined this effort, according to The Athletic). There is no in-person scouting able to be done this year, making it more difficult for clubs to get up-to-date info on players who are outside their organizations. Of course, Stearns and AJ Preller could simply agree to share alternate training site data with each other, rather than making it available for the whole league to see. As a reminder, only players who are in 60-man roster pools can be traded this season, although teams can utilize the PTBNL option if they truly want to acquire someone who isn’t at a training site this season.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs