In terms of closers on the free agency market, Josh Hader is considered the cream of the crop. Whether Hader remains with the San Diego Padres or not, the lights out relief pitcher is expected to earn a massive bag.
There is plenty of solid relief pitching in free agency. However, there are none like Hader. He is expected to set new heights in terms of closer contracts when he finds his new team in free agency, via Mark Feinsand of the MLB Network.
“He is above and beyond the No. 1 closer out there. For teams looking to add that lockdown guy in the ninth, he's your option. People are expecting that he will sign a deal that will eclipse Edwin Diaz's five-year, $102 million contract from last year.”
Diaz's contract was the highest in MLB history for a closer, meaning teams are expecting Hader to sign a historic deal. Teams like the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees have been rumored as potential suitors.
In potentially his final season with the Padres, Hader pitched to a 1.28 ERA and a 85/30 K/BB ratio, earning 33 saves. It was the lowest ERA of his career since 2021 and marked the third-straight season Hader converted 30+ saves. He earned the fifth All-Star nomination of his career.
Josh Hader would solidify any team's ninth inning. However, it isn't going to come cheap. Whoever that team ends up being, they're prepared to offer the closer a contract never seen before in MLB history. But if he keeps pitching how he did in 2023, it would all be worth it.