The Milwaukee Brewers trade Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres in a blockbuster deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres acquired All-Star closer Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday for recently benched closer Taylor Rogers and three other players in a blockbuster deal between playoff contenders from the National League.

The NL Central-leading Brewers sent one of the best relievers in the game to the Padres for Rogers, right-hander Dinelson Lamet, outfielder Esteury Ruiz and pitching prospect Robert Gasser.

The trade introduces the two major league save leaders. Hader has 29 saves to Rogers’ 28, though the Padres recently moved Rogers out of the closer role after he blew back-to-back opportunities in a series at Detroit. The Padres got Rogers from Minnesota on opening day.

“The players we are receiving in this trade help ensure the future of the Milwaukee Brewers remains bright without compromising our desire and expectation to win today,” Brewers President of Baseball Operations David Stearns said in a statement. release. “This combination of current major league talent and top-tier prospects furthers our goal of getting as many bites of the apple as possible and ultimately bringing a World Series to Milwaukee.”

San Diego also finalized a five-year, $100 million contract with right-hander Joe Musgrove that begins next year. Musgrove, 29, is 8-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 18 starts this year.

Hader, the NL reliever of the year three times in the past four seasons, has a career-high 4.24 ERA after suffering one of his worst slumps just before the All-Star Game.

The left-hander allowed five home runs and 12 runs in 4 1/3 innings in a six-appearance streak in early July, raising his ERA from 1.05 to 4.50. Otherwise, Hader has allowed just four runs in 29 2/3 innings.

And hitters continue to have all kinds of trouble making contact against him. Hader has struck out 59 batters in 34 innings. He has blown just two of his 31 save opportunities.

Hader, 28, is earning $11 million this year and is eligible for arbitration again this offseason. He could become a free agent after 2023. His escalating salary had sparked speculation with each trade deadline that the budget-conscious Brewers might trade him.

This time, they took the plunge.

“Trading good players on good teams is tough, and that’s certainly the case with Josh,” Stearns said. “We also recognize that to give our organization the best chance for sustained competitiveness, to avoid the extended periods of downtime that so many organizations experience, we must make decisions that are not easy.”

They may have been convinced by the appearance of All-Star reliever and 2020 NL Rookie of the Year Devin Williams, who has 30 consecutive appearances without allowing runs. The Brewers now have the option of making Rogers the new closer or moving Williams to that position.

Rogers is 1-5 with a 4.35 ERA and seven blown saves. After a strong start to the season, Rogers posted a 5.59 ERA in June and a 9.31 ERA in July. He can become a free agent after the season.

Lamet has struggled this season going 0-1 with a 9.49 ERA in 13 appearances, well above his career ERA of 4.08.

Ruiz, 23, has hit well above .300 at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season and was hitting .222 in 14 games with San Diego. Gasser, a second-round draft pick last year, has gone 4-9 with a 4.18 ERA at the top Single-A level this year.

The Brewers will assign Ruiz to Triple-A Nashville and Gasser to Double-A Biloxi.

Milwaukee has a three-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central, and the Padres have a 1 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia for the second NL wild card.

Musgrove has a salary of $8,625,000 and was on track to be eligible for free agency after the World Series.

He gets $20 million a year from 2023-27 and in the final year of the deal he gets a limited no-trade provision that allows him to block a trade from 13 teams. However, that provision would matter only if Musgrove had been traded before then; if he stays with the Padres, he would have the right to veto trades beginning in the middle of the 2026 season as a 10-year veteran who has been with his team for at least five seasons.

Also, Musgrove gets a hotel suite on road trips.

AP sportswriter Steve Megargee in Milwaukee and AP baseball writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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