Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns is known for his bold moves in Milwaukee – but today might just mark his boldest yet, as the team will reportedly trade away All-Star closer Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres.
BREAKING: The Brewers are trading star reliever Josh Hader to the Padres, a source tells ESPN. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 1, 2022
As reported by ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Brewers and Padres will basically end up trading closers as, in return for Hader, Milwaukee will get San Diego's current closer Taylor Rogers along with pitching prospect Robert Gasser, outfielder Esteury Ruiz and pitcher Dinelson Lamet.
It's sure to be a divisive move considering Hader's impressive record with the Brewers over the years. Since his MLB debut with the team in 2017, the long-maned fireball-thrower has been a dominant force at the end of the Brewers' bullpen, striking out 541 batters across just 316 innings and racking up 125 saves – second most in Milwaukee history, merely eight behind team saves leader Dan Plesac. Hader was also the back-end of last season's joint no-hitter with Corbin Burnes – the team's first no-hitter since 1987.
However, Hader was also on the mound for the go-ahead hits in two big recent Brewers playoff losses: to the Nationals in 2019 and the Braves in Game 4 last season. He also severely struggled this past July, leading to a career-high 4.24 ERA as of current writing. As Brewers fans know all too well from Derrick Turnbow, the shelflife for hard-throwing closers can be over in a blink. Add in his contract ending next season (and a new one likely costing a pretty penny) as well as fellow reliever Devin Williams performing great in the bullpen, and it makes sense the Brewers would want to strike now while Hader's still hot rather than risk losing him for less – or, worse yet, nothing at all – later.
That all being said, you've still lost inarguably one of the best closers in the league for the past several years (to a team you might just have to play sooner than later in the postseason at that).
So who are these guys the Brewers got back in return? If you have to lose the current MLB leader in saves, you might as well replace him with the guy just one save behind him in second – and that's exactly who Milwaukee got in lefty Taylor Rogers. Meanwhile, outfielder Esteury Ruiz is only batting .222 – but he's just 27 at-bats into his first season in the pros, and he showed pop and lots of speed on the bases working his way through the minors. Right-handed pitcher Dinelson Lamet's battled injuries throughout his career, but he had a strong 2020 year (3-1 with a 2.09 ERA) that gives hope that he could be a sturdy rotation piece if he can remain healthy, while lefty Robert Gasser is a highly-ranked Padres prospect. He's not one of the team's crown jewel prospects, but he's been a name to watch in the San Diego system – and now he's in Milwaukee's.
Will all of that add up to more than Josh Hader? We'll find out – but it'll certainly be a conversation point for Brewers fans for the next several months and probably beyond.
That's the future though. As for now, Milwaukee's currently in first place in the NL Central with a three-game lead over the pesky St. Louis Cardinals – and we're just starting to head down the final stretch of the regular season. Anything can happen – and with the Cards on our tails and more cards likely up Stearns' sleeve, it likely will – so stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for any more Brew Crew updates.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.