Last July in Los Angeles, Josh Hader sat inside Dodger Stadium for his fourth All-Star media day, answering questions about his future with regard to the upcoming Trade Deadline.

Two weeks later, he was traded from the Brewers to the Padres.

On Monday, Hader was back at the All-Star Game for a fifth time, and while the logo on his hat was different from the one he sported at last year’s Midsummer Classic, the questions remained the same.

That’s the reality of being a star player on a team falling short of expectations, particularly one with an expiring contract. If things don’t get better for San Diego between now and the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline, Hader could be looking at another midseason move.

“It’s nothing I can control,” Hader said. “You can’t get your head wrapped up in what-ifs or whatever may happen. For me, it's just going out there every day and making sure that I'm ready to pitch. If it happens, it happens; just like last year, there have been rumors pretty much every year since I've been in arbitration that it’s a possibility. I can't change the result or the outcome of where I will be if it's going to happen, so I feel like it's wasted energy if you're even thinking about that.”

Craig Kimbrel has been in Hader’s shoes, representing the Cubs in the 2021 All-Star Game before being dealt to the crosstown White Sox just 17 days later. The Cubs hit the break that summer facing a 7 1/2-game deficit in the NL Wild Card race and an eight-game spread in the NL Central, but when those numbers swelled to double digits during the first two weeks of the second half, Kimbrel and a number of his star teammates were traded to contenders around the league.

“It is a tough scenario to be put in sometimes,” Kimbrel said. “As a team, you finish the first half and everyone pretty much still has a shot, especially with the playoffs and how they're formatted. There are situations where guys know they're going to be traded. Contract-wise, control-wise, where the team is in the standings — all those things make a lot of sense, so there are times where you kind of see it coming. I think the tougher moments are when as an organization and as a team, you kind of feel like you're all still in a push to get it done and then it falls apart at the same time. That can be a little tougher.”

This year’s All-Star teams have a number of players who might find themselves in a similar scenario in the coming weeks, but they’re doing their best not to allow the rumors and trade buzz to disrupt the All-Star experience.

“The only advice I would have them is to enjoy it,” Mariners pitcher Luis Castillo said through a interpreter, thinking back to being in that same situation a year ago. “This is something that happens once a year, so just try to enjoy every minute of it. Everything else is going to take care of itself.

Here’s a look at a half-dozen All-Stars who could be on the move by Aug. 1:


Josh Hader, LHP, Padres
Hader has been one of the best relievers in the game since he debuted in 2017, yet 2023 might be his finest season yet. The lefty finished the first half with a 1.08 ERA and 21 saves in 35 appearances, holding hitters to a .133 average and a .426 OPS.

The 43-47 Padres have been among the league’s biggest underachievers this season, and if San Diego — which sits six games out of a Wild Card spot and 8 1/2 games back in the NL West — finds itself further out by the end of the month, Hader could find himself wearing another uniform as he approaches free agency this offseason.