Buyer's remorse: Braves make Astros look silly for paying Josh Hader all that money

It's been a tough month of April for Josh Hader and the Astros. The Braves just made it much worse.
Texas Rangers v Houston Astros
Texas Rangers v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

When he's right, Josh Hader is arguably the best relief pitcher in all of baseball. Unfortunately for the Astros, Hader hasn't looked his usual self since he signed with Houston this winter.

Hader entered Monday night's game against the Atlanta Braves with a 4.91 ERA and just one save to his name. Frankly, those aren't the numbers the Astros paid for. With a struggling starting rotation thanks to multiple injuries suffered by Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez, Houston needs its bullpen to pitch up to par.

When Hader signed with the Astros this winter on a five-year, $95 million deal, the pitch from the closer's camp was that he'd finally be willing to throw more than one inning at a time now that he'd secured a long-term commitment. So far this season he has yet to do that.

"But Hader, who has predominantly been a one-inning pitcher only, is open to different usage, according to a source, and could pitch more than one inning at a time now that he has secured a long-term deal. Which gives Espada the ability to get creative in deploying Hader, who has statistically been the most dominant reliever in baseball throughout the last 4-5 seasons," FanSided MLB Insider Robert Murray reported at the time.

Braves make Josh Hader, Astros look silly

Hader hadn't allowed an earned run since April 7, but that changed in a hurry on Monday night. The Astros were down just one run when Hader was inserted into the game, the hope being that he would keep Houston within striking distance.

Instead, Hader did the exact opposite, giving up four earned runs and recording just one out. David O'Brien of The Athletic reported that Astros fans booed Hader after the Braves extended their lead.

It should be noted that the Braves had the best lineup in baseball last season, and hit an MLB record 307 home runs in 2023. Hader isn't struggling against the Detroit Tigers starting nine, he got shelled by the best.

Nonetheless, the Astros acquired Hader for moments like these. With the Astros struggling to begin the season, Hader was supposed to keep them in the game. That didn't happen.