For the first time in his career, former Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres closer Josh Hader is a free agent. The southpaw has been one of the most dominant relievers in the game, set a salary arbitration record in 2023 at $14.1MM months after being traded from the Brewers to the Padres, and now is in line for a massive payday.
Hader is unique in the fact that he is a left-handed closer and is one of the best at his position. Relief pitchers tend to see lots of turnover from year to year, but Hader has consistently stuffed his stat sheet with low ERAs, high strikeout totals, a large number of saves, and three Reliever of the Year awards.
Five days after the conclusion of the World Series marks when Hader can officially discuss contracts with teams outside of the Padres. Prior to this occurring, a hype video was sent out to all 30 ball clubs. Narrating the film was legendary Half of Fame San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman, who coincidentally finished his career with Milwaukee and picked up his historic 600th save with the Brewers.
Hader received several endorsements from Trevor Hoffman during the video in which he is described as the definition of today's modern closer due to his style, stuff, and toughness. He also points out that statistically Hader is the all time leader in strikeouts per nine innings as well as opponent batting average.
Trevor Hoffman's ode to the closer theme of the video also features clips of well known players such as Mariano Riveria, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Francisco Rodriguez, Aroldis Chapman, and Edwin Diaz. With the career that Josh Hader has had so far he is well qualified to be mentioned alongside these other pitchers.
All of this points towards Hader looking to become one of if not the highest paid relievers in the game. Currently Edwin Diaz holds that title after he signed a five year, $102MM deal with the New York Mets. In regards to average annual value, Raisel Iglesias and Kenley Jansen come in second at $16MM.
A season ago Trea Turner had a hype video for his free agency in which Jon Hamm was the narrator. Turner ended up inking an 11 year, $300MM deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. A deal like this likely is not in Hader's future, but a deal similar to, if not better than, Edwin Diaz has to be in his mind.