Whether or not Milwaukee Brewers fans want to admit it, Josh Hader is going to be traded. It may not be during the season. It could happen this offseason after the Playoffs. Next year is the last of Hader’s arbitration years, meaning he will be a free agent following the 2023 season. Given the Brewers’ small market, there is little-to-no chance that they will be able to afford their four-time All-Star closer. This means that if Milwaukee is to salvage anything from losing Hader, they are going to have to trade him. As Bob Nightengale reported, this could happen this season. Regardless of when it happens, one interesting possible trade partner would be the Cleveland Guardians who boast EIGHT prospects in MLB’s top 100. Almost no other team would be able to match that kind of haul in a probable trade.
Why Would the Guardians Trade for Josh Hader?
As of the writing of this article, the Cleveland Guardians are 43-42 and 3.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. They have a stellar closer in Emmanuel Clase, who has 19 saves and a 1.49 ERA. Adding Hader would make the backend of their bullpen unstoppable.
In terms of what they would have to give up, the Guardians would not need to part with any of their Opening Day starters to make the trade happen. This means that they can keep a competitive Major League lineup and make a push for a Playoff berth. In this trade scenario, they would have to give up five of MLB’s top-100 prospects. However, as stated, they have eight. Their farm system will survive paying a steep price.
What the Brewers Would Get in Return for Josh Hader
With a year [and a half] of club control left, Josh Hader will demand a king’s ransom from whatever team is able to pry him away from Milwaukee. The Guardians have a rich minor league system with prospects that the Brewers need to bolster their own farm system. Milwaukee should not be shy about demanding the best prospects that Cleveland has to offer, which could lead to this asking price:
- Josh Naylor- first baseman/outfielder who is hitting .279/.336/.505 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI in 57 games with Cleveland this season.
- Nolan Jones- third baseman/outfielder who is hitting .538/.625/.923 with a home run and eight RBI in four games; Jones is the Guardians’ eighth-ranked prospect is MLB’s #100 overall prospect. Prior to being called up, Jones was hitting .311/.415/.500 with three home runs and 25 RBI at Triple-A.
- Daniel Espino- right-handed starting pitcher who has pitched just four games in 2022 due to tendonitis in his left knee; Espino is Cleveland’s top prospect and MLB’s #11 overall prospect. Prior to his injury, he was 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 0.71 WHIP at Double-A.
- Gavin Williams- right-handed starting pitcher with a 2-3 record and 1.64 ERA with High-A and Double-A in 2022. Williams is the Guardians’ third ranked prospect and comes in at #78 on MLB’s top-100 list.
- Brayan Rocchio- shortstop/second baseman/third baseman who is hitting .259/.345/.420 with eight home runs and 34 RBI at Double-A. Rocchio is Cleveland’s fifth ranked prospect is and come in at #85 on MLB’s top-100.
- Tyler Freeman- shortstop/second baseman who is hitting .249/.344/.329 with four home runs and 35 RBI at Triple-A. Last season, in Double-A, Freeman hit .323/.372/.470 with two home runs and 19 RBI. Freeman is Cleveland’s sixth ranked prospect and comes in at #86 on MLB’s top-100 list.
Why This Trade Makes Sense for the Brewers
In return for Josh Hader, the Brewers receive a much needed offensive weapon that can contribute right away in Josh Naylor. A left-handed hitter, Naylor plays first base, but also can play any corner outfield spot. Additionally, Milwaukee would net five MLB top-100. The majority of these prospects are middle infielders. This is a position that the Brewers need to address with serious improvement in the minors. Finally, they net two quality young starting pitchers who will be Major League ready by the time Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes hit free agency in a few years.
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