Houston we have a closer! The Houston Astros agreed to a deal with closer Josh Hader on Friday. The deal is for five years and $95 million. It doesn’t include any deferrals and is the biggest contract for a relief pitcher in terms of present-day value, according to ESPN. Edwin Diaz signed a five-year, $102 million deal with the New York Mets last offseason and it’s present-day value was $93 million after deferrals. Hader could get an extra $1 million if he wins the Reliever of the Year award , which he won in 2018, 2019, and 2021.
Hader has been with the Astros before as he was part of their minor league system from 2013 to 2015. In the majors he was first part of the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen. He then got traded to the San Diego Padres in the summer of 2022. Last year he had a 1.28 ERA with 33 saves and 85 strikeouts. The closer also held opposing hitters to a .163 average and a .224 slugging percentage.
The Hader signing is a good deal for the Astros. The Astros will not have one of their relievers this year as Kendall Graveman will miss the 2024 season due to having shoulder surgery. Hader will help fill the void that Graveman leaves. Hader is one of the best closers in baseball. Since 2019 he has lead the majors with 153 saves, and his 437 career strikeouts are 59 more than the next closest reliever. He is a five-time All-Star.
Header’s pitching arsenal is great also. Last year his sinker averaged 96.1 mph, tied for sixth among qualified left-handers. His slider held opponents to a poor .100/.151/.120 slash line. He is dependable and can get the job done in the late innings, making him a good addition.
The Astros were one win away from the World Series last year. If they were to be in the same position this year, then Hader could help them make the World Series and win it.