It’s near-impossible for a franchise to know it’s the right moment to cash in your chips and go all-in with a roster. But for AJ Preller, that time is right now.
The San Diego Padres have been the clear winners of the offseason, pulling off several blockbuster trades and bringing back key pieces – including Jurickson Profar, who inked a three-year deal this week to come back in 2021. With their super-rotation assembled and one of the league’s best offense, Preller must now think even bigger and put together a trade for Josh Hader.
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Milwaukee’s dominant southpaw showcased overpowering stuff once again in 2020, leading the league with 13 saves and striking out 14.7 batters per nine. Admittedly, he wasn’t quite as good as he was in the years prior – but that was the case with a great many guys who battled through playing in empty stadiums in the midst of a global pandemic.
The two-time All-Star is one of the best left-handed relievers in the game today and adding him to the mix would address an area of question in the bullpen. As things currently stand, San Diego has a handful of lefties, including their go-to guy in Drew Pomeranz. But if you add Hader to the mix, this team may very well become the World Series favorite in the Senior Circuit.
With several years of team control left and at just 26 years old, Hader is easily one of the most valuable trade chips out there on the market. Milwaukee (and the rest of the National League Central) has shown no willingness to spend or really do anything to improve in the short-term, so trading Hader actually makes a lot of sense.
Josh Hader has more value to the Padres than the Brewers
Thanks to the emergence of Devin Williams, who won National League Rookie of the Year honors, Hader is far more expendable for the Brewers now. What better team to look to line up a deal with than the Padres who, even after the trades for Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, still boast one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball.
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Pair the countless young prospects in his arsenal with an ability to get big deals done without unloading your blue chip names and Preller might just be able to pull off the granddaddy of them all – acquiring an elite late-inning reliever while also holding onto guys like MacKenzie Gore and CJ Abrams.