• The Milwaukee Brewers are listening to offers for Josh Hader
  • He is under team control until 2023 but will get more expensive over time through arbitration
  • The Yankees want a bullpen arm and see Hader as a cheap option for the short-term with huge upside for the long-term

The New York Yankees landed their “white whale” in Gerrit Cole this week in a record-setting signing while also adding Brett Gardner. The Bombers might not be finished adding quality players to their roster as they are now being linked with a surprise trade for Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Yankees are the “most active pursuer” of Josh Hader while the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are also named as potential suitors.

Hader is one of the outstanding young arms in baseball. The 25-year-old owns a career record of 4.85 strikeout-to-walk ratios and a 178 ERA+. He has also been used heavily in that time, registering 157 innings pitched over the past two seasons and is often deployed for multiple frames.

Gerrit Cole Houston Astros
Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park on October 05, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Despite Josh Hader’s obvious talent, and the fact he is under team control until 2023, the Brewers are listening to offers this offseason. He is arbitration-eligible this winter and should receive about a $5 million salary for 2020. That number will only go up over the next three years of arbitration.

Plus, the Milwaukee farm system has been slowly depleted over the years and they are below average talent-wise. Landing a monster package of prospects for Josh Hader would go a long way to restocking their minor league clubs.

Hader is attractive for the Yankees for a couple of reasons. First, they are losing Dellin Betances to free agency and ideally want an extra bullpen arm to cover his absence. Second, Hader won’t start to get monster money for a few seasons. With Cole landing a record contract, the Bombers will have to keep a close eye on their payroll.

The team’s 2020 payroll is now above the upper luxury tax thresholds meaning they are subject to the heaviest taxes and surtaxes. Should they fail to move some salary this offseason, the Yankees will also see their highest pick at next summer’s rule five draft moved back ten spaces.

They are themselves shopping around J.A. Happ and his $17 million per season contract. Even after shedding this salary, the Bombers would be close to the upper thresholds of the luxury tax so getting a solid and underpaid arm would be a real boon.