MLB Free Agency Rumors: Josh Hader Signing Record Contract With Houston Astros

As the top closer on the free agent market, and arguably all of MLB, Josh Hader was set to sign a significant contract this offseason.

His market remained mostly quiet while Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto were making their decisions, but began to heat up in recent days.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were connected to Hader with varying degrees of interest, with some reports suggesting he was part of their aggressive bullpen search, while another said they prefer another starting pitcher.

On Thursday, it was also reported the Houston Astros were making a push for the star left-handed closer. Now, it appears that’s where Hader is ending up as the two sides have agreed to a deal, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN:

Hader was reportedly been looking to break Edwin Díaz’s record contract, which would have required a five-year deal worth more than $103 million.

It seemed unlikely Hader would reach that amount, but due to the deferrals in Díaz’s deal, Hader’s value is valued higher and sets a new record for present-day value in a relief pitcher contract.

The 29-year-old went 2-3 with a 1.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 33 saves in 38 opportunities for the San Diego Padres this past season.

He has filled a closer role for the Milwaukee Brewers and Padres over the last three years, and it’s entailed not pitching more than one inning in a single appearance since September 2019.

Relief pitcher market was waiting on Josh Hader

With Hader now signed, the reliever market should start to pick up soon as most of the available options were waiting for him to sign.

Robert Stephenson, who the Dodgers have been connected to, is the top arm left. Ryan Braiser could also come off the board soon, and the Dodgers have been interested in him as well.

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