Free Agent Profile: Closer Josh Hader could be in line for a record-breaking contract this winter

Brennan Delaney
2 months ago
The Blue Jays bullpen is all but set in stone for the 2024 season, but could you imagine if they added one of the best bullpen arms in the game? 
This is a free agent profile, where we take a look at the players on the open market this winter and whether or not they would be fits for the Blue Jays. In this article, we’re going to take a look at Josh Hader, who could sign the largest contract for a closer in baseball history this off-season.

Josh Hader’s 2023:

After a rough 2022 season, which saw the lefty post a 5.22 ERA between the Brewers and Padres, Hader’s first full season in San Diego was a great one. He posted a 1.28 ERA and a 2.69 FIP in 56 1/3 innings pitched with 33 saves. To go along with that, Hader had a 36.8 K% and struck out 13/6 batters per nine. 
Hader established himself as one of baseball’s best closers during his six seasons in Milwaukee but hit a blip in 2022, a season in which he was traded from the Brewers to San Diego. During that year, he posted a 5.22 ERA and a 3.45 FIP in 50 innings pitched, along with a 37 K% and a 9.6 BB%. Hader was traded to the Padres for Taylor Rogers, Dinelson Lamet, Esteury Ruiz, and pitching prospect Robert Gasser because Milwaukee ultimately didn’t want to pay his eventual raise in arbitration. 
Rough year aside, Hader is still amongst the game’s best closers. For his career, he has a 2.50 ERA and a 2.73 FIP in 388.2 innings pitched. He has 165 career saves and has only blown 25 of them. 

Josh Hader’s contract:

Relievers aren’t often extended qualifying offers, but due to his great season and large track record, the Padres felt it was necessary to give Hader one, which he declined. This means that any team that signs Hader will lose a second-round pick.
With all being said, Jim Bowden of The Athletic predicts that Hader will earn a three-year deal worth $67 million, which equates to $23.3 million a season. MLB Trade Rumors believes he’ll sign a longer-term deal, six years at $110 million, which is $18.3 million a season.
Edwin Diaz signed the biggest contract for a closer in MLB history with the Mets worth $102 million over five years and it looks like Hader will break that this winter. I guess that’s the price you pay for one of the best closers of our generation.

Is Josh Hader a fit for the Blue Jays:

Honestly, probably not. As it stands, the Blue Jays’ bullpen is solidified with Jordan Romano, Tim Mayza, Erik Seanson, Génesis Cabrera, Yimi García, Chad Green, Trevor Richards, and one of Mitch White or Bowden Francis, as well as a ton of depth in the upper minors that could contribute.
While Hader is a fantastic pitcher and would make one of the league’s bullpen significantly better, it feels like the money is better spent elsewhere, specifically on an outfielder or third baseman.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.



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