It has officially been a week since MLB All-Star closer Josh Hader has been traded to the San Diego Padres. Since then the Milwaukee Brewers have taken a hit. Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Reds marked their 5th loss since the trade, showing much frustration among Brewers fans. Luckily the Brew Crew pulled through tonight with a win over the Rays, but many fans and experts are asking the question, “Are the Milwaukee Brewers a World Series contender?” If you were to take a look on social media, the quick answer would be a resounding, ‘no.’ Fans are still frustrated with David Stearns and the Josh Hader trade. In David Stearn's explanation, he says, “This mix of present Major League talent and high-level prospects furthers our aim to get as many bites out of the apple as possible, and ultimately, bring a World Series to Milwaukee.” Now although many fans on social media claim they want a ‘World Series Win NOW!’ and think it would be best to risk it all like the Padres, David Stearns ‘bite of the apple’ philosophy might ensure Milwaukee to win a World Series sooner.
The debate is still up in the air about if the Milwaukee Brewers made the correct choice in whom they acquired for Josh Hader. Ultimately, they received two high-level prospects, LHP Robert Gasser and LF Esteury Ruiz, and two former experienced pitchers Taylor Rogers(2021 AL All-Star), and Dinelson Lemet(sadly he has rejected his assignment to the Brewers which was within his right and has been claimed by the Rockies due to waivers). Their plan in this trade was to trade Josh Hader now, when his value is highest, and acquire players that will, in the words of David Stearns, “...ensure that the future of the Milwaukee Brewers remains bright while not compromising our desire and expectation to win today.” Although it’s frustrating the trade didn’t work out entirely the way we would have hoped, it was meant to provide a way for the Brewers to make the playoffs every year.
So the question arises, how is this philosophy better than the Padres' “all in” philosophy? To answer that, we will have to look at some basic statistics.
PECOTA, the most accurate baseball player performance forecasting system in the world, gives the Milwaukee Brewers a current 3.9% chance at winning the World Series. The San Diego Padres as of now, currently have a 3.7% chance. (To put this into perspective, the Dodgers have an 18% chance at winning the World Series). Although both teams are in a bit of a slump right now, let's say theoretically the Padres raise their chances to 6.5% and the Brewers raise to 4.5% before the end of the regular season. The Padres would be risking all of their money for only a 6.5% chance at winning a World Series, and then next year have to worry about rebuilding over the next few years to build back up to a playoff spot. The Milwaukee Brewers' hope is that if you continue to maintain that 4.5%-6% chance year after year, the chance of winning a World Series will continue to add up. If the Brewers continue to provide themselves with a 4.5%-6% chance every year, they raise their chance to 22.5%-30% in 5 years, 45%-60% in 10 years, and 67.5%-90% in 15 years. This is the reasoning behind David Stearns' “bites out of the apple” philosophy, and with how hard it is to win a World Series, the Brewers need every chance they can get.