Friday has been an arbitration bonanza across Major League Baseball. Teams have either agreed to deals to avoid the process with their arbitration-eligible players, or they’re at risk of having to go to hearings because they couldn’t find common ground. As of now, standout Brewers reliever Josh Hader is among those whose asking price outpaces what his team’s willing to pay. The left-handed Hader requested $6.4MM in 2020, his first of four arb-eligible seasons, while the Brewers submitted a $4.1MM offer.
Considering what he has brought to the table since he debuted in 2017, Hader’s desired salary looks plenty fair. Dating back to his first season, the hard-throwing Hader has posted a 2.42 ERA/2.74 FIP with a ridiculous 15.35 K/9 against 3.17 BB/9. And Hader has proven himself as more than a three-out weapon, as he ranked 13th among all relievers in frames (204 2/3) during his three-season stretch of brilliance. He has also made it clear he can dominate as a setup man or a closer. Just last season, Hader racked up 37 saves on 44 attempts.
Even though they’re a small-market, low-spending club, there’s no obvious reason for the Brewers to trade Hader. They’re a team coming off back-to-back playoff seasons, Hader’s one of their most valuable players, and he’ll be easily affordable in 2020 no matter how his current financial situation pans out. With that said, the latter reason could influence the Brewers to go in another direction if they receive an enticing enough offer. As of Dec. 1, Milwaukee was willing to listen to proposals for Hader, who has drawn interest from such big-market teams as the Yankees, Mets and Dodgers this winter. Surely, if Milwaukee’s truly willing to let Hader go, other playoff-caliber clubs and hopeful contenders would enter the mix. That’s all the more true considering the dearth of high-end relievers left in free agency.
For the time being, Hader remains a member of the Brewers, who could at least retain him and decide on his long-term future around July’s trade deadline. But do you expect the club to move on from him before the upcoming season?
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