The Milwaukee Brewers let teams know early in July that four-time All-Star closer Josh Hader was available, believing they could still win the NL Central without him, but warned the asking price would be steep.
Well, they soon will find out if they’re correct in their assessment, trading Hader to the San Diego Padres on Monday for closer Trevor Rogers, starter Dinelson Lamet, pitching prospect Robert Gasser and outfield prospect Esteury Ruiz.
Oh, and for the Padres, they’re all in.
They are the front-runner to acquire prized outfielder Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals.
Oh, and just to buoy their confidence they can still reach the playoffs for the first time in a full season since 2006, with a deep October run, $340 million shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend and make his season debut by mid-August.
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Meanwhile, the Brewers believe their trade will not only allow them to stay atop the NL Central, but remain a contender for the next several years with their haul.
“The players we are receiving in this trade help ensure that the future of the Milwaukee Brewers remains bright while not compromising our desire and expectation to win today,” said Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns. “This mix of present Major League talent and high-level prospects furthers our aim to get as many bites of the apple as possible and, ultimately, to bring a World Series to Milwaukee.
“Trading good players on good teams is difficult, and that certainly is the case with Josh. We also recognize that to give our organization the best chance for sustained competitiveness, to avoid the extended down periods that so many organizations experience, we must make decisions that are not easy.”
Devin Williams, their All-Star setup reliever, has not given up an earned run in his last 30 appearances, yielding a .115 batting average with 47 strikeouts in 28 ⅔ innings. He becomes their new closer, while Rogers, who has 28 saves but recently lost his closer’s role will be the Brewers’ setup man.
The Brewers, who had planned to trade Hader this winter, knowing he’d earn about $17 million in salary arbitration and is eligible for free agency in a year, believe now was the time to move him. They had also become concerned with his recent struggles. He is yielding a 14.04 ERA since July 4, allowing 15 hits and 13 earned runs in his last 8 ⅓ innings, an ugly slash line of .385/.455/.872.
Well, it’s the Brewers’ worry now if they can still win the NL Central without Hader, leading the St. Louis Cardinals by three games.
The Padres, well, they aren’t acting like a small-market team, signing ace Joe Musgrove to a five-year, $100 million contract extension earlier in the day. They have a payroll that will exceed the $230 million luxury tax, and won’t mind blowing completely past it if they can land Soto, too.
The Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers are also aggressively pursuing Soto, but the Padres are acting with more urgency.
Besides, they have GM AJ Preller at the helm, who loves star players. Why, just since 2019, they have acquired Manny Machdao, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, Sean Manaea, and even manager Bob Melvin.
Now, add Hader to the list.
Soto may be next.
The Nationals told the Padres and everyone else just what it would take.
They are now waiting for the Padres to meet their price, or they will simply hold onto him until the winter.
The trade deadline is at 6 pm ET Tuesday, and there’s not a soul in the baseball industry who believes the Padres have any intention of stopping now.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Josh Hader trade: Padres get All-Star closer from Brewers at deadline