Josh Hader trade rumors: Brewers willing to talk relief ace, report says

Josh Hader will cost an MLB team a few million dollars in salary in 2020. That team might not be the Brewers.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, citing anonymous sources, reported Sunday (subscription required) that Milwaukee is making available the left-handed relief ace, who will be due a big salary bump this offseason through the arbitration process.

Brewers general manager David Stearns, in quotes to Rosenthal, refused to confirm or deny whether Hader was on the block.

“We listen on a wide variety of players throughout the offseason. A lot of players get discussed,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said, while adhering to his policy of refusing to comment on specific players in trade conversations.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Hader, 25, will make $4.6 million after recording 37 saves and averaging 16.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 2019. He made $687,600 last season as a player with one-plus seasons of MLB service time, per Baseball Prospectus.

A Hader trade would be the second in as many offseasons involving a young, controllable high-level closer. The Mariners dealt Edwin Diaz to the Mets with Robinson Cano and cash in exchange for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista and prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn last December. Diaz, 25, was not eligible for arbitration in 2019; he made $607,425, per Baseball Prospectus.

Diaz is arbitration-eligible this offseason, but he lost his closer’s job in New York to Seth Lugo last August.

The Brewers have already experienced turnover this offseason. They watched catcher Yasmani Grandal leave for the White Sox as a free agent in November. Chicago signed him to a reported four-year, $73 million contract. They could lose free-agent infielder Mike Moustakas, as well.

Stearns has already made two trades involving major leaguers. He dealt right-hander Chase Anderson to the Blue Jays for minor league first baseman Chad Spanberger, and sent right-hander Zach Davies and outfielder Trent Grisham to the Padres in exchange for left-hander Eric Lauer, infielder Luis Urias and a player to be named.

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