In a stunning blockbuster, the Padres have agreed to acquire All-Star closer Josh Hader from the Brewers, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported just minutes ago that the Brewers were closing in on a Hader deal.
The Padres are sending their own closer, Taylor Rogers, to Milwaukee back in the deal, Passan further tweets. Milwaukee will also acquire righty Dinelson Lamet, pitching prospect Robert Gasser and outfield prospect Esteury Ruiz.
It’s a massive get for the Padres, and while it’s a genuine surprise to see Milwaukee move its closer while holding a three-game lead in the National League Central, the reasoning behind the trade is fairly straightforward. Hader’s $11MM salary figures to jump north of $15MM next season in his final year of club control, and a generally budget-conscious Brewers club may not be willing to dedicate $15-17MM to a single reliever when that represents such a notable portion of the overall payroll.
The Brewers, of course, could have held Hader into the winter and made him available at that point, but the allure of landing Hader for multiple postseason pushes undeniably allowed them to seek a higher price right now. To that end, they’re acquiring a high-end closer of their own in Rogers, who — like Hader — has struggled of late but has an excellent track record spanning several seasons. Milwaukee also adds a high-octane arm in Lamet, albeit one that’s been plagued by injuries, and two of the Padres’ top ten prospects in Gasser and Ruiz, which breathes some much-needed life into a farm system that is not viewed as a particularly strong one.
It’s the sort of trade we’re accustomed to seeing smaller-payroll clubs like the Rays and Guardians make with regularity: cash in a coveted player’s trade value when he has multiple seasons of club control and simultaneously backfill that spot on the roster with other big league help. It’s an immediate downgrade on the roster overall, but this type of simultaneous buy-and-sell tightrope act has been one of the keys to Tampa Bay, Cleveland and even Milwaukee itself remaining competitive despite rarely being able to spend top-of-the-market money.
More to come.