Josh Hader remains a free agent, but that does not mean he is not demanding interest from multiple suitors around the league.
Via Jim Bowden of CBS Sports; there are three primary teams at play in the Hader sweepstakes. The New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Texas Rangers.
Bowden is reporting that Hader is looking for a deal north of Edwin Diaz's 5-year $102 million contract with the Mets.
Teams are generally hesitant to hand out multi-year, 9 figure contacts to bullpen guys and it is no different here hence why Hader is still on the board. That being said, Josh Hader is an exception.
"So far, no club has gone to that ballpark, at least as of yet," Bowden said. Adding that each of the three main suitors are all more focused on a starting pitcher, but will pivot to Hader if necessary.
Hader has solidified himself as one of the better relievers in baseball since coming onto the scene in 2017. The 5-time all-star is not even 30 yet and is coming off one of his better seasons to date adding validity to the high asking price.
Hader ended 2023 with a 1.28 ERA in 61 appearances out of the bullpen. Hader let up just 8 earned runs the entire season and struck out 85 batters in 56.1 innings. In his 7-year career, Hader has just a 2.50 ERA to go with recording 15 strikeouts/9.
With the Rangers bullpen in the position it's in, Hader would be the sure-fire closer to begin the season and provide a sense of security in late innings. Something the Rangers have not had in quite some time.
Desperately needing a high-leverage arm in the bullpen, this feels like a move Chris Young needs to make happen before New York or Los Angeles make Hader their priority. That being said, where Jordan Montgomery signs plays a major role. Both the Yankees and Rangers are among the top suitors for Montgomery making it fairly obvious that both teams are waiting on Monty's decision to determine the next steps.
But as mentioned by Bowden, out of the three primary teams neither will have any issue signing Hader to a major contract. Each is waiting on other priorities as of now, but will pivot to the 3-time NL reliever of the year as more dominoes start to fall in free-agency..
As for the Rangers, Montgomery may be their priority at this moment, but Hader would solve several issues in that bullpen all by himself unlike anyone currently available.
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