News Now: The Phillies’ decision not to sign Josh Hader after learning of his enormous deal desires

Josh Hader, a free agent, aims to surpass Edwin Díaz’s $102 million deal in November 2022, which set the market for high-profile closers, to become the highest-paid reliever in history. Is Hader worth it, though?

Josh Hader, who has been one of Major League Baseball’s more productive closers over the last five years, is hoping to benefit from his new deal. After his stellar 2022 season, New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz signed a five-year, $102 million contract last offseason. The free agent is looking for a deal bigger than that.

This offseason, there have been rumors that the left-handed closer could be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations, hasn’t stated that Philadelphia is prepared or eager to sign a reliever to a contract that size, though.

Now that Hader’s contract demands are public knowledge, let’s examine why the Phillies shouldn’t sign him.

After the transaction, Hader might not perform like a top closer.
With shortstop Trea Turner, Philadelphia agreed to a long-term, costly contract last offseason: 11 years, $300 million. But the infielder’s 2023 performance fell well short of what the team, the supporters, or he had anticipated.

Turner is one of the best players on the team with the most to prove in 2024 despite having a mixed campaign. The Phillies should exercise caution when making a purchase if he has the same offensive and defensive difficulties in his second straight season.

One could argue the same thing about giving Hader a high-paying contract. Nobody can predict what will occur. After all, Díaz sustained a season-ending knee injury in the World Baseball Classic celebration that preceded the start of the previous season.

The case against the Phillies signing Josh Hader after huge contract  desires revealed

After the deal, there are just no promises about how the left-hander known as “Haderade” will perform. The Phillies would be taking a chance by signing the free agent after making a significant offer to another free agent, even though they are uncertain about who will be their closer in 2024.

In 2023, Hader pulled out of a four-out save opportunity.
The San Diego Padres were in a close game with little chance of qualifying for the postseason on September 25, of last season. They were playing the San Francisco Giants. Although the team was still in the running for the playoffs, it could not afford to lose any more games.

In a low-scoring contest, Blake Snell pitched a fantastic game for San Diego, giving the team a chance to win. With his impending free agency and the Padres’ slim odds of making the playoffs playing a major role in his decision-making, Hader declared himself unavailable to pitch a four-out save.

In this case, the closer was thinking about what was best for himself. Readers may conclude that, given the proximity of Hader’s impending free agency, he was wise to protect his own interests. The reliever could have been accused of selfishness for not wanting to assist his team win even though the Padres had little chance of qualifying for the postseason.

In response to a question about how he made his decisions, Hader said, “It’s the situation that we were at.” “Are we in the playoff race?” he questioned in a rhetorical manner. It is unrelated to the off-season. It’s about the here and now, about staying healthy, and about finishing the season—playing 162 games is a difficult feat. When men put in too much work, they get hurt.”

Maybe there’s nothing to be gained by making a big deal out of this incident. But should the Phillies make a trade offer to Hader, who in this situation seemed to prioritize his own interests over the needs of his team? After all, Philadelphia might need to use the reliever to pitch during the season on short rest and for more than three outs due to his high contract demands.

For what length of time would Hader be a member of the Phillies?
After the 2025 season, Díaz’s contract allows him to opt out as a player. Given that Hader is pursuing a salary akin to the Mets reliever’s, if his contract included an opt-out clause, for how many seasons would the left-hander be assured of pitching for Philadelphia?

Should Hader’s new contract have a player opt-out clause akin to Díaz’s, the Phillies might only be guaranteed two years with the left-hander. In an attempt to increase his income, the 29-year-old might choose to leave the company. At the age of 31, he could be able to pursue his final large professional salary.

One may argue that, if Philadelphia wins a title with Hader in 2024 or 2025, it makes more sense to have the closer for just two seasons before he uses his player opt-out clause.

But there’s merit to wanting him to stay with the organization for more than two seasons, particularly if he continues to rank among the league’s best relievers in terms of save totals. The risk might be justified given the Phillies’ chances of winning a World Series, particularly if the closer proves to be the difference that separates the team from the competition.

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