The nearby division-rival San Diego Padres have been engaging in an arms race with the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason and have worked their way up to World Series contender status in just a few short months.
And though the Dodgers are still better, the recent Josh Hader rumors were no doubt concerning. If we look at the Pads’ roster from top to bottom, their only major flaw is their bullpen. They don’t really have a reliable back-end, nor do they have a bonafide closer.
But adding Hader to be the ninth-inning guy with arms like Drew Pomeranz, Mark Melancon, Matt Strahm, Emilio Pagan and Tim Hill to support him would make all the difference. It’d take pressure off the less-effective guys and help manager Jayce Tingler determine roles rather than throwing scenarios at the wall to start 2021.
According to Rosenthal, the Brew Crew are looking for “affordable, controllable major-league pieces” for the star left-hander, but their reported targets of Josh Cronenworth and Tim Hill are guys the Pads want to keep. Plus, that would kind of defeat the purpose of acquiring Hader — San Diego would be losing a lefty arm in the ‘pen and drastically downgrading at second base.
Sorry, A.J. Preller! A nonsense package of teenage prospects won’t be getting the job done here! Back to the drawing board.
Then again, Rosenthal mentioned that these two teams have discussed a trade for Hader “over the past few years,” so perhaps the Brewers reach a point where they realize the Padres can still offer them the best package and eventually move forward with a deal before the July 31 deadline if they’re out of contention.
Regardless of what happens, the Dodgers will remain the top team in the NL West (and Major League Baseball). But there is a bit of a reason to be concerned about the Padres filling their one glaring weakness with one of the best players at his position.
For now, though, the Dodgers can beat up on that bullpen for at least the first few months of the 2021 season.