Should the Padres attempt to extend Josh Hader?

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

For almost the whole existence of the closer position, the San Diego Padres enjoyed success from a solid player.

From Rollie Fingers to Josh Hader, the Padres traditionally bring in a quality pitcher when they have a lead in the ninth. Trevor Hoffman is arguably the best closer to have played the game (Yes, I know who Mariano Rivera is- I wrote arguably). He enjoyed his best years in a Padres uniform. In fact, the award for the best closer in the National League is named in his honor.

The Padres must continue this dominance when it comes to closers if they truly wish to finally hoist a World Series trophy.

Currently, Josh Hader is due for free agency at the end of the 2023 season.

This could be an issue for the Padres. Eventually.

Peter Seidler and his group have opened their pocketbooks in the last few seasons, but next year the Padres face a scenario where three of their best pitchers are due for free agency. Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Hader are all vital to the success of the team. Replacing them will not be easy. Signing each to a multiple-year deal will also be tough.

You get a sense the starters are the first priority, but right behind them is what to do with Josh Hader.

The left-hander’s career with the Padres started uninspiring, as Hader was knocked around and briefly lost his role with the team only a few appearances after being acquired. In July, his ERA was 12.54 while with the Brewers. That did not persuade Preller, as he still traded for the southpaw. in August, the earner run average ballooned to 19.06 in his time with San Diego for the month.

Thankfully, the team gave the veteran some time to make adjustments, and he did that, recording multiple saves down the stretch for the Padres. The four-time All-Star recorded a 0.87 ERA and a remarkable 0.581 WHIP in September and October for the Padres, saving six games in 11 appearances. The lefty struck out 13 batters in that time, only walking two batters. He was back to being one of the most dominant closers in the game.

In his six-year career, Hader owns a 2.71 ERA and a 0.918 WHIP and has saved 132 games. The three-time Trevor Hoffman Award winner is 28 years old and surely has more positive years under his belt.

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So, what would it take for Hader to re-up in San Diego?

Edwin Diaz signed a five-year, $105 million deal with the Mets this winter.

That is the most amount of money obtained by a closer in a contract. The Mets are not shy about spending, as they set a new high for the closer position a few months ago. Hader’s value is comparable to Diaz, but the reality is the Mets gave Diaz a once-in-a-lifetime deal. They paid a price that was above his value. Josh Hader should not cost that much on the open market.

San Diego may be wise to explore possibilities with Hader after the season. His 2022 season was a bit shaky, and you would not want to be invested in a pitcher like that for too long if things go south. Sadly, the closer position has traditionally been made up of pitchers who have had trouble holding their value late into their careers. Rivera and Hoffman both pitched solely as closers throughout their entire major league careers and that helped seal their legacy as the top pitchers in that role to have ever graced the mound.

As for Hader, the Padres will probably struggle to bring him back at a rate they can afford. However, if the lefty dominates in 2023, the Padres will explore all possibilities in retaining his services. The position is one of weakness throughout the league and the Padres would be wise to secure Josh Hader. But only at an acceptable rate.

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