Brewers pitcher calls out front office for Josh Hader trade during August skid: ‘Didn’t send the right message’

The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t played well lately. Although they won on Sunday, thus avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, they have compiled a 7-11 mark so far in August. What’s more, the Brewers have lost four of their six August series, including sets against the aforementioned Cubs, as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds — or National League Central foes. Add it all together, and the Brewers have seen their two-game lead in the division turn into a five-game deficit in a three-week span.

There are many plausible explanations for the Brewers’ slide — for example, they’re 3-5 in one-run games in August — but one offered over the weekend by left-hander Eric Lauer concerned the clubhouse’s reaction to Josh Hader. business

“It didn’t send us the right message that the people upstairs were trying to say, like, ‘We’re doing this and we’re trying to put you in a good position and we’re trying to win with you right now. Guys,'” Lauer told MLB.com. “It seemed more like, ‘We’re trying to develop for the future.'”

At the trade deadline, the Brewers sent Hader to the San Diego Padres in exchange for four players: reliever Taylor Rogers, outfielder Estuary Ruiz, and pitching prospect Robert Gasser. Righty Danielson LaMette was also part of the trade, but the Brewers designated him for assignment and lost him to waivers before suiting up with the organization.

Regardless of the merits of the trade — and it should be noted that Hader has struggled with the Padres, removing him from his closer position — it’s easy to understand why Lauer and others in the clubhouse would be surprised by the deal. Teams in first place rarely trade their closer, and it’s even rarer that they deal him within their league and to a potential playoff opponent.

It didn’t help matters that Lauer noted a lack of communication from the front office — which was pushed back by other members of the organization — as well as undermining the perception that the Brewers weren’t keeping their players long-term. Ability for the current group to buy into the long-term vision of the front office. Lauer made a direct reference to president of baseball operations David Stearns’ go-to explanation about how the Brewers’ best chance to win a World Series is to make the playoffs as often as possible, or cut as many apples as possible.

“I personally wasn’t a big fan of the way they described it publicly,” Lauer also told MLB.com. “I’m not just trying to get a bunch of apple slices. Especially if things are going the way the Brewers have done business historically. [before] Paying Boys. I don’t know how many apples we can harvest in the next few years. We’re not going to be able to afford more guys in this room.”

It’s fair to think that Lauer and his teammates would feel better about their current situation if they had the same record but Hader still on the roster. At the very least, his frustration speaks to the difficulties of trying to thread the needle for the present and the future: Business may make sense on paper, and it may benefit the organization in the long run, but there is a human element that must be involved. Account for how a particular deal will be received within the clubhouse.

Lauer and the Brewers will try to get back on track starting Monday night with a three-game set against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

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