Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for August 8th, 2022

My Take on the Josh Hader Trade (One Week Later)

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Last week, the Milwaukee Brewers traded their best player, relief pitcher/closer Josh Hader, to the San Diego Padres for four other players: pitcher Dinelson Lamet, relief pitcher/closer Taylor Rogers, OF prospect Esteury Ruiz, and pitching prospect Robert Gasser. This was an extremely surprising thing to do, because the Brewers were atop the National League Central division.

In other words, teams make trades like that — trades of their best player — when they don’t think they can make the playoffs.

That, of course, is not what the Brewers front office has said about it. Their take is, “We’re a small-market team, and we need to plan for the future, not just now.”

But the thing is, the players know this is wrong, for the reason I gave above.

Now, what do I think about the players the Brewers got in return? Well, Rogers is a good pitcher, but we’ll only have him until the end of the year, when he’ll be a free agent. (Rogers is not as good as Hader, mind. But he is good.) Lamet has already been waived; the Colorado Rockies picked him up. The other two, well, time will tell, as they’re both in the minor leagues.

But that’s not the entirety of what I think.

See, I view this as a slap in the face to the fans, as well as to the team as a whole. The fans want the team to do well; more to the point, they want to root for people they recognize. (A major trade like this, of a team’s best player, usually happens in the off-season, not in the middle of the season like this one.)

Josh Hader pitched for the Brewers for several years. In that span, he won three NL Reliever of the Year awards. He’s also a four-time All Star (meaning he’s been selected to go to the All Star Game), and as I said above, he’s arguably their best player.

So, the fans hate this move.

The players also hate this move, probably because it shows them that the Brewers will trade anyone — doesn’t matter how good they are — if the price is right.

Two players, pitcher Brandon Woodruff, and relief pitcher Devin Williams, said things like this a day after the Hader trade (best paraphrase from watching two Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel videos):

Williams: “Some things just don’t make any sense.”

Woodruff: “The first thing I thought, when I heard about the trade, was this: ‘Is this a joke?'”

That speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

Also, during last night’s edition of Brewers Extra-Innings (a radio talk show that happens after every Brewers game on WTMJ-AM 620 in Milwaukee), sportscaster Greg Matzek said that the entire team was still unhappy regarding the Hader trade.

(Considering the Brewers have now lost five of the last six games since the trade of Hader, that seems to be a reasonable assumption.)

So, my view boils down to this:

Ruiz had best be the second coming of Hank Aaron, for this trade to ultimately pan out. Otherwise, there is no point to this trade beyond a salary dump (as Hader was making the most of any pitcher on the staff at about $11 million dollars).

And if that’s the case, that’s flat-out disgraceful.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 8, 2022 at 7:55 am