Josh Hader, left, and Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate winning the Central Division title, Sept. 26, 2021, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (John Fisher/Getty Images)
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The Milwaukee Brewers are in first place, so surely, they wouldn’t trade their dominating closer, right?
Well, that’s exactly what they did. The Brewers sent Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres in a stunning trade on Monday, acquiring LHP Taylor Rogers, RHP Dinelson Lamet and two others.
The Brewers made due on the trade deadline despite losing Hader, but Devin Williams, who now may be slated to close for Milwaukee (if it’s not Rogers), still can’t believe the trade happened.
“I don’t really have a lot to say, to be honest with you. I don’t know,” Williams said.
“I was surprised. He was a huge part of our success …” he added. “Just getting the ball to him was pretty much a sure thing most of the time.”
Milwaukee Brewers’ Victor Caratini, left, high-fives Josh Hader after the final out against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati on May 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Hader has struggled of late, but he was named to his fourth consecutive All Star Game in July (there was no midsummer classic in 2020).
If Williams does close games, the Brewers will be in good hands. He owns a career 1.94 ERA, has struck out 14.7 batters per nine innings, and was named an All-Star for the first time this year.
But it’s going to be difficult to replace Hader.
Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers gets ready to throw a pitch against the San Diego Padres at American Family Field, June 5, 2022, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (John Fisher/Getty Images)
Since 2018, his 473 strikeouts and 15.8 K/9 are the best marks among relievers, and his 2.55 ERA is the third-lowest.