The San Diego Padres made a bold move to solidify their bullpen by acquiring closer Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.
The Brewers received a return package featuring closer Taylor Rogers, pitching prospect Robert Gasser, outfielder Esteury Ruiz and reliever Dinelson Lamet in exchange for the All-Star pitcher.
ESPN's Jeff Passan initially reported the deal.
It's a surprise to see the Brewers move on from Hader given that he remains an elite closer and they are competing with the St. Louis Cardinals atop the National League Central. The left-hander also has one more year of team control before hitting free agency after 2023.
Since making his debut in 2017, Hader has established himself as one of the most dominant relievers in Major League Baseball. In 269 games, the 28-year-old has 541 strikeouts, with 161 hits allowed and a 2.48 ERA over 316.1 innings.
Per FanGraphs, Hader's 15.39 strikeouts per nine innings and 44.1 strikeout percentage over the previous six seasons leads all relievers with at least 150 innings pitched. His 9.4 wins above replacement ranks tied for second among relievers during that span.
Hader finished 2021 with a 1.23 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 102 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. The Brewers managed him differently last season than they had in the past. He didn't throw more than one inning in a game all year, including the playoffs.
The Brewers won the NL Central with a 95-67 record but lost in the NLDS to the Atlanta Braves.
Sticking primarily to his one-inning role in 2022, Hader began the year as electric as ever to earn another All-Star selection, although he has been inconsistent as of late. He entered July with a 1.09 ERA but gave up 13 earned runs over the past month to drop his ERA to 4.24 for the season.
An argument for trading Hader now is, it's the best way for Milwaukee to maximize his value by bringing back multiple impact players who will be long-term assets for the organization. The team might be worse in the short term with a potential playoff spot in store this season.
Milwaukee will at least add the Padres' closer in Rogers, who has 28 saves and a 4.35 ERA this season. Gasser is also a quality prospect, rated the team's No. 7 player in the farm system, per MLB.com.
Devin Williams will likely replace Hader as the Brewers' closer. He has 30 consecutive scoreless appearances since May 10.
San Diego adds one of the most dominant relievers in MLB and has him under control for an additional season.
The Padres are doing everything in their power to stay in contention and keep the pressure on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
San Diego is 57-46 despite not having Fernando Tatis Jr. available yet due to a wrist injury.
After acquiring Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs and Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays to help their rotation last year, Hader gives the Padres a dominant late-inning reliever to partner with Luis Garcia and Nabil Crismatt.
The Padres have a roster capable of challenging anyone in MLB, and the group looks even more dangerous with Hader coming out of the bullpen late in games.