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What exactly were the Brewers thinking?

Taylor Rogers had a decent stretch from 2017 to 2019, but the only statistic that really pops out for him since then is his saves count and that boils down to opportunity more than anything. His strikeout-to-walk ratio has taken a major hit in 2022 as well. Not a lot of good signs pointing his way. He doesn’t have Hader’s resumé, longevity, or skill set. Dinelson Lamet showed flashes of greatness in 2020, only to struggle with injuries in 2021 and fight a losing battle with inconsistency when given the opportunity to play in 2022. He’s basically regarded as nothing more than a bullpen arm with some potential at this point. The focal points of the trade were the prospects, Esteury Ruiz and Robert Gasser. Both players should be ready for the Majors by 2024, and both are already top-10 prospects in the Brewers’ system. They make this a good deal, but not a great one. Keep in mind, the Padres’ were still playing for Juan Soto at this point and didn’t have to give up anybody who could’ve become a piece in the Soto trade. That’s not good for Milwaukee.

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For someone as talented and accomplished as Hader, you’d expect at least one top prospect to head the Brewers’ way. I’m talking like top five, not borderline top 10. You could argue that Lamet fits that description, but I’d argue that that’s no longer the case. Even worse, Hader was heading into arbitration this offseason. Given that Hader currently holds an ERA over 4, it’s likely that the Brewers could’ve re-signed him for considerably less than his current $11 million salary, especially if they moved him out of the closer role entirely. At the very least, the Brewers could have retained Hader for the playoff run and re-signed him to a friendlier contract, thus drawing much more attention from teams looking for a reliable closer. I don’t think it’s crazy to say they could’ve gotten a larger haul.

It’s just irritating to see a team in a position to win a division title give up a key piece of their bullpen like this. Sure, the closer position isn’t viewed as highly as it once was, but ask any Dodgers fan whether or not they think having a reliable bullpen is important. They refused to bring back Kenley Jansen after one bad postseason. Then, they brought on Craig Kimbrel to replace him only for him to fall apart worse than the MCU after Avengers: Endgame. Bullpens become all the more important when the postseason rolls around and the Brewers just parted ways with one of the best southpaws in the game.

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Yes, the haul was decent, but Milwaukee undoubtedly got worse with this deal. It’s heartbreaking to see a team, leading their division with one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, make a trade like this. Perhaps if they’d made some other big splash trades I’d feel more comfortable about their position moving forward. Matt Bush, who’s having his first halfway decent season in five years, is not the game-changer Milwaukee needs to stay atop the NL Central. The Cardinals didn’t make the big move for Soto like many thought they would, but they did land a reliable left-handed arm in José Quintana. They got better in an area where they desperately needed help. Can’t say the same for Milwaukee, and I wouldn’t be shocked if this move comes back to bite them in the ass come late September.

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