MLB Rumors: Cubs-Cards battle for top starter, Mets Ohtani backup plan, Hader to NL East?

MLB Rumors: Will Aaron Nola sign with the Chicago Cubs or St. Louis Cardinals? The Mets have a Shohei Ohtani backup plan. Josh Hader makes sense for 2 NL East rivals.
Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Guardians
Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Guardians / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Braves and Phillies fighting for Josh Hader?

Josh Hader will be the top relief pitcher on the free-agent market once this year is up, and it's not expected that he'll stay with the San Diego Padres. Some possible suitors for Hader, per Mark Feinsand, are the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers.

The Phillies seemingly have an eternal issue at the back end of their bullpen. Dave Dombrowski is one of the more aggressive front office executives in baseball, so if he can get approval on the money necessary to sign Hader, expect him to do so. Hader's agents will try to get him a contract surpassing that of Edwin Diaz, who as of this writing is the highest-paid relief pitcher in baseball (five-year, $102 million).

The money may be on the Phillies side, but a team like the Atlanta Braves would also make plenty of sense for Hader. Signing Hader would create arguably the strongest bullpen in baseball, with Raisel Iglesias and A.J. Minter already in play, among others. Atlanta doesn't need Hader, but considering all the money Alex Anthopoulos has saved over the years by locking up the Braves homegrown stars at a discount, why not take a big swing at a position of need? FanSided's Cody Williams spoke to this possibility a few days back:

"Atlanta doesn't necessarily need to upgrade the bullpen -- but if they did, making an all-out blitz for a top closer in baseball like Hader would be the way to do so. It would create a wholly dominant unit with Hader, A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias on the back end, especially when combined with the potent Braves lineup. Even better, even as a top-of-market reliever, he'll come cheaper than any high-end starter would."

Signing Hader would lead to an embarrassment of riches for one of the best teams in baseball. Anthopoulos should at least consider it.

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