Josh Hader has been an elite relief pitcher during his brief MLB career, but the Yankees shouldn’t give up Miguel Andujar to acquire him.
If the Yankees could be sure that Josh Hader would continue to pitch like a dominant reliever throughout the remainder of his prime, then trading Miguel Andujar to acquire him would make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, there’s no reason why Brian Cashman and his front office should have that opinion with any degree of certainty.
To put it bluntly, betting on relief pitchers to pitch consistently over multiple seasons is just bad business. There’s a reason why the Yankees chose to let Dellin Betances head across town to the Mets. They understand the fickle nature of bullpen arms better than most MLB franchises.
Nonetheless, rumors connecting New York with a deal with the Brewers to bring Hader to the Bronx have continued to persist. The most recent reports claim that Milwaukee want the Yankees to give up Andujar plus additional pieces to get a deal done. At that price, Cashman should turn his attention elsewhere.
It’s fair to call Andujar a flawed prospect. His inconsistent defense at third base is a serious issue. The Yankees aren’t sure whether or not they can keep him at the position moving forward. It’s possible that Andujar’s defensive issues will relegate him to the designated hitter position in the future. That would sharply decrease his value, but the ability Andujar flashed to hit extra base hits as a rookie would still allow him to be a solid everyday player.
That wouldn’t make Andujar more valuable than Hader’s been over the past several seasons, but it does drastically increase his floor as a player compared to the current Brewers star. As long as Andujar stays healthy, he’s going to remain a solid starter. Despite missing most of the 2019 campaign due to injury, there’s no reason to believe he won’t enjoy a healthy career moving forward.
Hader, in sharp contrast, is a serious health risk. His violent delivery is a big reason why he’s in the bullpen currently. He’s been able to avoid serious injuries during his brief professional career, but the Yankees should evaluate him as a ticking time bomb of sorts. The chances of Hader staying healthy and elite for multiple seasons into the future aren’t good at all. Any trade for him should be made with that core belief in mind.
Any relief pitcher should be viewed as a one-year rental in any trade talks. Hader is no exception. That’s why the Yankees should balk at the idea of giving up Andujar in any trade for the All-Star pitcher. Hader is a decent bet to outperform Andujar in 2020, but the pendulum swings back to the young third baseman for the rest of their respective careers.