Red Sox Trade Target: Josh Hader – LHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Josh Hader has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball since making his debut with the Brewers in 2017. In 2021, Hader finished in the top 1% of the MLB for xBA, xSLG, wOBA, xwOBA, K% and xERA, per Baseball Savant. He’s been in the top 1% of the league for xBA each of the past four seasons, and for xERA in three of the past four.
Hader assumed the closing role for the Brewers during the 2018 season, making his first of three All-Star appearances thus far in his career and holding down the 9th inning for the Brew Crew ever since. He’s been top 5 in the majors in saves each of the last three seasons (34 last year, 13 in the shortened 2020, and 37 in 2019). Hader has a career 0.85 WHIP, 2.26 ERA and 44.4 K% over five seasons with Milwaukee.
What would a trade for Josh Hader look like?
Hader’s ability to lock down the 9th inning is undeniable, and he would instantly turn the Red Sox bullpen into a weapon for Alex Cora. But Milwaukee is not necessarily in a position to sell after winning the NL Central in 2021. Let’s not forget how they just sent two prospects along with Jackie Bradley Jr. to Boston in an effort to add more pop to their offense in the form of Hunter Renfroe, so the Red Sox would likely need to include a major league bat along with a prospect or two to pry Hader away.
Depending on what other moves Bloom makes when the lockout ends and with top prospect Triston Casas looking all but ready to take over first base in the near future, Alex Verdugo or Bobby Dalbec could become expendable. Packaging one of those two guys with a pitching prospect on the verge of breaking into the big leagues such as Connor Seabold, Josh Winckowski or Kutter Crawford could entice the Milwaukee front office to open conversations around their prized closer.