The San Diego Padres have acquired LHP Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers, but who won the trade?
The first truly league-shattering deal is upon us, as the Milwaukee Brewers have traded otherworldly closer Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres for LHP Taylor Rogers, RHP Dinelson Lamet, LHP Robert Gasser (SDP No. 7 prospect), and OF Esteury Ruiz (SDP No. 28 prospect).
Hader’s availability on the trade front had been in question in recent days, with some reports coming out that the Brewers were listening to trade offers and others saying he was staying put.
That question has finally been answered and the multi-year saga of ‘Will Josh Hader be traded?’ has finally come to a close.
MLB Trade Grades: Who won the Padres-Brewers Hader trade?
Evaluating the deal from the Padres side:
In Josh Hader, the Padres are landing the best reliever in baseball, hands down. He has come back down to Earth a bit as the 2022 season has gone on, but there is no real argument to be made against his being the top relief pitcher in the game.
Across his six-year career to this point, Hader has a 2.48 ERA with a 2.70 FIP, notching 125 saves and making four All-Star Game appearances along the way. He has long been efficient at limiting home runs and registering strikeout numbers that are typically borderline unreachable.
The newest San Diego Padre will immediately slot into the closer’s role, replacing Taylor Rogers, who was sent back to Milwaukee in the deal. Hader remains under team control through the 2023 season, so he will be at the back end of their bullpen for the rest of this year and all of next.
When taking a look at what the Padres gave up, it’s a lot of talent. Rogers is one of the best non-Hader left-handed relievers in the game and Dinelson Lamet is a highly-promising starter who has struggled with injuries as of late, but has proved to be dominant when he’s healthy.
Padres grade: A
Evaluating the deal from the Brewers side:
As difficult as it is to let go of a talent like Hader, the Brewers were able to land a fairly solid haul in return for him, including two of the Padres top-30 prospects. With Hader set to become more and more expensive over the next year or so, David Stearns and Co. decided now was the time to deal him while his value was still sky-high.
In Taylor Rogers, the Brewers are landing another great lefty who will slot in near the back of their bullpen. Devin Williams is going to be the new closer for the Crew but Rogers will be an oft-used setup/high-leverage pitcher as he had for many years in a Twins uniform. He has ran into some bad luck this year as evidenced by his 4.35 ERA compared to 2.35 FIP and is likely a pure rental for the Brewers as he is playing on an expiring contract.
In Dinelson Lamet, the Brewers are bringing aboard yet another high-end starting pitcher that, when he’s healthy, is capable of greatness. Slotting him alongside Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta and Aaron Ashby down the line is a very exciting concept. He has flashed 200-strikeout potential and is a very similar pitcher to his new teammate Peralta.
In Robert Gasser, the Crew are landing a starting pitcher prospect that had made it all the way up to No. 7 in the Padres system (will be No. 8 in Brewers system) and has been in A-ball for the entire 2022 season so far. His repertoire consists of an above-average four-seam fastball, slider and changeup and has an 11.5 K/9 rate in 18 starts this year.
Esteury Ruiz is a young utilityman who was the No. 28 Padres prospect at the time of the deal (will be No. 9 in Brewers system). He, in my opinion, will be the highlight of this return alongside Lamet when all is said and done. Ruiz made a very brief 14-game cameo in the big leagues earlier this season but has spent the majority of the year in the minor leagues, where he has been lighting the opposition up.
In 77 games in the minors this season, Ruiz has 13 home runs and 46 RBI, walking 52 times and striking out 65 times as well as posting a .333 batting average and a 1.028 OPS. Oh, and he has also stolen 60 bases this year. He is an above-average defender at all three outfield spots and has quite a bit of experience at second base as well, giving the Brewers the defensive versatility that they’re known to love.
Brewers grade: B+
The Padres have won this trade. What makes it a ‘win’ for the club is the fact that they were able to land Hader without giving up any of C.J. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore or Robert Hassell, three of the club’s top prospects. Ruiz and Gasser are solid prospects who are likely to be big contributors for the Brewers for many years to come, but the fact that the Padres were able to hang on to the best prospects they have is highly impressive.
It’s hard not to feel like the Brewers could’ve squeezed one more player out of the Padres in this deal. While there is considerable current and future talent going from San Diego to Milwaukee, the Padres got off easily here by not having to include any higher-end players.
One interesting concept to consider (H/T to Josh Waldoch of FanSided’s Reviewing the Brew) is whether the acquisition of Ruiz in this deal makes the inclusion of one of the Brewers’ high-end outfield prospects more plausible in a separate trade, perhaps one for Nationals first baseman Josh Bell. It will be interesting to see what direction the Brewers go in now that David Stearns has shown a willingness to deal pieces off of the big league roster.