Padres closer Josh Hader linked to Rangers this offseason
The San Diego Padres were supposed to be back in the NLCS in 2023 after falling in five games the year prior. The team showed that they are willing to spend as much much money as possible to bring all of the big stars to San Diego to help them win their first-ever World Series title. Instead, the team couldn't even make the playoffs. With that, the team has an important offseason in front of them, as they try to figure out what they can do to right the ship.
However, there are some big names set to hit the open market, one of them being closer Josh Hader. Having a stout bullpen is the way to go if you are a team planning on making a deep postseason run, and Hader is probably the best reliever available. So, which teams would make the most sense for Hader?
Jon Heyman of the New York Post noted in a recent article that Hader "makes sense" for the Texas Rangers. Heyman notes that the team will have two relievers hitting free agency this offseason in Aroldis Chapman and Will Smith.
The Rangers have made it a priority to spend big the past two winters to make it back into the playoffs for the first time since 2016. That was evident when the team spent big on free agents like Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jacob deGrom, and Nathan Eovaldi. Oh, and they brought three-time World Series champion manager Bruce Bochy out of retirement. Those moves have paid off, as they swept the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Series and the Baltimore Orioles in the AL Division Series to make it back to the AL Championship Series for the first time since 2011.
Texas' bullpen has been an area of concern throughout the regular season, as they accumulated a 4.77 ERA through the regular season. Yet, this postseason, they have held up pretty well, as evidenced by their 2.16 ERA, per FanGraphs. With the Rangers potentially losing their closer and late relief pitcher, adding a Hader makes sense, especially if the team is looking to make another deep postseason run in 2024.
This season, Hader recorded a 1.28 ERA, a 1.101 WHIP, 85 strikeouts, and 30 walks in 56.1 innings. Hader recorded 33 saves in 38 opportunities.
Hader's market value is set at $17.5 million per year by Spotrac.