The San Diego Padres are not content to merely make the playoffs, they want to win it all. The team took a bold step in that direction Monday, acquiring star closer Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
The return on Josh Hader to Milwaukee is significant: left-handed closer Taylor Rogers, lefty pitching prospect Robert Gasser, outfielder Esteury Ruiz and right-hander Dinelson Lamet, sources tell ESPN. Hader will be a free agent after the 2023 season.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 1, 2022
Hader, 28, is one of the league's best relievers since making his debut in 2017. He was off to a dominant start in 2022, not allowing a run until June. Hader struggled as of late, posting a 12.54 ERA over 11 July appearances. He owns a 4.24 ERA on the season.
His recent struggles are likely a tiny blip on what has otherwise been a dominant career. Hader has a 2.48 ERA and 541 strikeouts over 316 1/3 career innings in the majors. He's made the All-Star team four times, including 2022.
The Padres are 57-46 on the season, and sit in second place in the National League West. The team trails the Los Angeles Dodgers by 12 games for the division lead. The Padres are a good bet to make the playoffs as a wild-card team, and the Hader acquisition gives them an excellent option to close out games in October.
The move is not a pure rental, as Hader is also under team control through the 2023 season.
Brewers receive four players for Josh Hader
The move comes as a surprise for Milwaukee. The team leads the National League Central by three games over the St. Louis Cardinals. Both clubs are expected to go for it as the year winds down.
While most contending teams value a dominant bullpen, especially in October, the Brewers saw the Hader trade as an opportunity to get multiple useful parts for one excellent player.
After closing games in San Diego, Taylor Rogers comes over to the Brewers. Similarly to Hader, Rogers got off to a great start but has struggled in July, posting a 9.31 ERA over 10 games. When he's going right, Rogers can be a strong left-handed option out of the bullpen. He won't rack up as many strikeouts as Hader, but has better control.
Milwaukee also liked what it has seen from reliever Dinelson Lamet. Ability has rarely been a question for Lamet, who has been held back by injuries over his career. Lamet struggled in April and was demoted to the minors in May. He returned to the majors in July and has pitched three games since then. Lamet, 30, has always had a strong fastball and slider combination, leading some to believe he can be a solid reliever if he can get his command and health under control.
The Padres also received pitching prospect Robert Gasser and outfielder Esteury Ruiz for Hader. Gasser, 23, has a 4.18 ERA at High-A. Ruiz, 23, was hitting .333/.467/.560 in 374 plate appearances spread across Double-A and Triple-A before being called up to the majors in July. He's hitting. 222 in 27 MLB at-bats.
While dealing Hader is a surprise, the Brewers likely felt they could make the move thanks to the emergence of reliever Devin Williams. After a year and a half of solid production, Williams has taken his game to another level in 2022. He has a 1.59 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, and will likely pair with Rogers to give a Brewers another fantastic 1-2 punch in the late innings.