Josh Hader will likely be a Milwaukee Brewer for the foreseeable future. A panel of judges ruled in favor of the Brewers organization, during arbitration with Hader, and his representation. However, his arbitration loss may ultimately cost the Brewers in the end.
During his first All-Star appearance in July of 2018, news broke of Hader having made inflammatory social media posts when he was 17-years-old. The Washington Post reported old tweets from his personal Twitter account that got uncovered. These tweets included derogatory comments toward African-Americans, homosexuals, and women.
When confronted with this information, Hader took responsibility for what he had done seven years ago. He called his actions inexcusable, referred to himself as both immature and stupid, and apologized. Major League Baseball responded by releasing a statement condemning Hader’s tweets and requiring he attend sensitivity training.
Hader’s Arbitration Case
Hader became arbitration eligible after earning a base salary of $687,600 for the 2019 season. Hader’s representation and the Brewers were not able to reach a contract settlement so each agreed to binding arbitration. This consists of a panel of judges who consider arguments from each party. Weighing this information, the panel chooses only one proposal, whichever party presents the most reasonable case.
Arbitration hearings have the ability of becoming continuous. When arguments are made to the panel, players are often present with their representation. A rehashing of poor performances, slumping statistics, or behavioral issues on the part of the player, are not uncommon. This is in an effort to sway the panel’s decision. As a result, this can damage the relationship between the player and the organization.
During arbitration in January, Hader’s representation filed for a 6.4 million contract, which would be a record for a relief pitcher in their first year of arbitration eligibility. The Brewers countered by offering 4.1 million. That 2.3 million dollar different got deemed too much to overcome, and the Brewers’ organization won the case. What reportedly occurred at the arbitration hearing, however, may affect Hader’s future with the club.
Hader voiced his frustration after losing his case, as expected. Brewer’s manager Craig Counsell also expressed his support for the star reliever. Counsell described the arbitration system as outdated, and claimed Hader should have won his case. Reports then began to surface indicating the Brewer’s representation had raised the issue of Hader’s tweets from 2018 at the arbitration hearing.
If this damaging incident from Hader’s past was used to sway the arbitrators, it could drive a permanent wedge between Hader and the organization. Hader may be sore about losing his arbitration case. The action of rubbing salt into this fresh wound, using his atrocious actions when he was 17-years-old, may ultimately result in his departure. Every employee has the need to feel appreciated. In the world of high-priced talent, the sting of unappreciation may have consequences.
Hader remains a Brewer, for now, and won’t become a free agent until after the 2022 season. His focus is on the upcoming season, but trade rumors continue to swirl. Even though the Brewers may have won, Hader’s arbitration loss may cost Milwaukee in the end.
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