Yankees Trade Rumors: Josh Hader a Target for NYY; Could Deal Miguel Andujar

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: Josh Hader #71 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Washington Nationals during the National League Wild Card game at Nationals Park on October 1, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

The New York Yankees haven't abandoned a possible trade for Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.

Heyman speculated New York might include third baseman Miguel Andujar as part of the deal given Milwaukee's need at the hot corner, but he added the belief is that the Brewers will be reluctant to move Hader.

A trip to the World Series has eluded New York over the last three years as the Yankees reached the American League Championship Series twice, falling short of the Fall Classic each time.

The front office already handed Gerrit Cole the biggest contract ever for a starting pitcher (nine years, $324 million). Acquiring Hader would further underscore the team's desire to claim a 28th title.

The left-hander finished with a 2.62 ERA and a 3.10 FIP in 75.2 innings in 2019, per FanGraphs. He also averaged 16.4 strikeouts to only 2.4 walks per nine innings.

The cost to get Hader will be high, but he doesn't become a free agent until 2024. The Yankees wouldn't have to worry about his salary climbing too high until then.

New York already has a loaded bullpen that includes Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle and Chad Green.

Although the team doesn't desperately need another proven late-inning option, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reported Dec. 12 the team wasn't engaging in "active dialogue" with representatives for Dellin Betances. Hader would effectively be filling the void Betances would leave should he sign elsewhere.

The emergence of Gio Urshela allows the Yankees to have some flexibility with Andujar, who was limited to 12 games after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in May. Andujar had 27 home runs, 92 RBI and a .297/.328/.527 slash line in 2018 when he was the runner-up to Shohei Ohtani for Rookie of the Year.

The Brewers signed Ryon Healy but could still look to improve at third base ahead of 2020. Milwaukee's two best options at the moment appear to be Eric Sogard or Luis Urias, the latter of whom is a more natural middle infielder.

The obvious question is whether Andujar is good enough to headline a trade package for Hader. Should he continue to be a poor defender, Milwaukee wouldn't have the luxury of using Andujar as a designated hitter, thus limiting his overall value.