The Brewers writers at wisportsheroics.com have come together to tackle some of the pressing offseason questions that face the Milwaukee Brewers. In this edition of our collaboration series, Sam, Corey, and Robin tackle the question: will Josh Hader be traded?
Sam’s Opinion on Josh Hader
I think it’s safe to say that Josh Hader will not be on the Brewers’ Opening Day Roster. He’s due for a huge pay day in arbitration this offseason, which the team may decide they wish to allocate elsewhere. With our system’s inherent ability to develop top-of-the-line pitchers, it would be smart to capitalize on Hader’s value right now. As for where Hader will go? Look for offers from teams such as the Padres, Dodgers, Yankees, and my personal “dark horse” trade candidate, the Chicago White Sox.
Follow Sam on Twitter! @sam-uel27
Corey’s Opinion on Josh Hader
Not this offseason. The Brewers are coming off a third consecutive playoff appearance. Albeit, it was an unlikely one that certainly wouldn’t have happened had the playoff field not been expanded to 16 teams. Their record has declined in the two years since 2018’s NL Central title and subsequent run to the NLCS. The brass has laid out their intentions of trimming payroll.
Trading one of their top players at this moment, I think, is a sign of an impending rebuild. I don’t believe that’s a message they want to send, especially after extending Christian Yelich with the biggest contract in team history last year. Yes, I understand Hader is likely to receive a handsome raise this year. That obviously works against the payroll-cutting objective of the offseason. And, yes, I understand this is seen by many as their chance to sell high on Hader and maximize the return.
That, of course, is the big caveat here: how aggressive potential suitors will be in their pursuit. However, I think the optics of a deal will make them stand pat and see how 2021 plays out. If they’re in a position to sell before the deadline, they won’t hesitate. They could also very well shun all offers and keep him. He is, after all, one of the best relief pitchers in the league and a valuable asset to a winning ball club. He’s also not due to hit free agency until 2024, so the Brewers have the luxury, barring any injury or regression in performance, of waiting this out.
Follow Corey on Twitter! @chilidogsunday
Robin’s Opinion on Josh Hader
I do not think that the Brewers move Josh Hader before the season starts. However, I do think that he is an excellent candidate to be traded before the trade deadline during the season. There are three reasons for this.
First, if the Brewers bounce back to their 2018-2019 form, they may feel like they are an offensive piece away from truly competing for a title. I could see them trading Hader for a slugging third or first baseman. The Brewers bullpen was a strength last season and is very deep. While Hader led the NL with 13 saves, his 3.72 was a little high. Devin Williams or Justin Topa would be excellent candidates to be the Brewers closer if Hader gets moved.
Second, if the Brewers do not bounce back and struggle, I could see them unloading Hader for prospects to rebuild their depleted farm system. The Brewers’ system ranks among the worst in the Majors and Hader could get them a few promising players that they can develop.
Finally, I believe that Hader’s “down” year in 2020 (see that ERA listed above) hurt his trade value. If he has a better start to 2021, his trade stock will rise again and the cost-conscious Brewers may look to move him for financial reasons looking ahead to 2022.
Follow Robin on Twitter! @theotherAdams14