We have used this idea for the last couple of years. The idea is to go through some of the top free agents, use the contract FanGraphs suggests they will get and have a poll asking if we would like to sign him for that amount.
Hader is a left-handed reliever. He turns 30 near the start of the 2024 season.
After a poor 2021 season, Hader returned to form in 2023, putting up a 1.28 ERA (matching his 1.23 ERA in 2021) with 33 saves for the Padres. He held batters to a .163/.284/.224 batting line.
Ben Clemens said:
That’s still a pretty good place to be; Hader is one of the best closers of our generation, and even if he’s a slightly diminished version of his prior form, every team in baseball could use someone like him in high-leverage situations. You can pencil him in for 50-60 innings, a huge pile of strikeouts, and a few homer-related blowups every year.
Because it’s bound to come up, I’ll quickly mention that I don’t think Hader’s stated desire to stick to one-inning outings affects his market very much. Teams would prefer to use him that way as well, at least until the playoffs, and he extended himself past an inning of work quite capably during the Padres’ 2022 playoff run. If your team wants a premium reliever this offseason, there’s Hader, then a giant gap, then a bunch of options that are clearly inferior. That will make him quite the prize.
Hader bounced back somewhat from a career-worst season in 2022, but still walked 12.2 percent of batters faced last year, second only to his 2020 season, and saw less movement on both his fastball and slider than he’d had in the previous few years. He traded some of those whiffs for less hard contact, posting both the lowest hard-hit rate of his career and one of the lowest in baseball, ranking 12th among qualifiers in hard-hit and Barrel rates allowed. He may not be the shutdown, 3-WAR reliever he was several years ago, but he’s an above-average left-handed reliever who gets hitters on both sides out well enough for high-leverage work, and he has that scarlet C on the uniform for managers who like that sort of thing. I expect he’ll get four-year offers, although I wouldn’t go over two years for any free-agent reliever because their value that far out is too hard to predict.
Ben figures him to get a 3-year, $70 million contract, averaging $23.3 million a year (a ton of money for a reliever).
Should the Blue Jays sign Josh Hader if the price is $23.3 million annually for 3 years?
This poll is closed
Probably, but I’m not enthusiastic about if
Probably not, but I wouldn’t hate it
No, Absolutely not