Yankees square off with Dodgers, Rangers over All-Star closer Josh Hader

All-star closer Josh Hader is linked to the Yankees in the 2023 offseason.

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The New York Yankees are into another high-profile competition with the Los Angeles Dodgers over Josh Hader, the five-time All-Star closer renowned for his powerful left arm. According to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports, the highly sought-after reliever has triggered fierce competition among the Yankees, the Dodgers, and the Rangers.

However, securing Josh Hader’s services comes with a substantial price tag for the Yankees. Bowden notes that the closer is eyeing a deal that exceeds Edwin Díaz’s record-setting $102 million contract, which became the richest ever for a reliever when he signed with the Mets last year. Although no team has met this benchmark yet, his exceptional performance in 2023, boasting a 1.28 ERA and 33 saves, adds to his undeniable appeal.

A caveat for the Yankees

All-star closer Josh Hader is linked to the Yankees in the 2023 offseason.
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Despite their interest, all three potential suitors have other priorities besides fortifying their bullpen. Bowden suggests that the Yankees would turn to Josh Hader if they can’t bring back Jordan Montgomery, but they are reluctant to commit to Díaz’s five-year term. Similar sentiments apply to the Dodgers and Rangers, both of whom prioritize securing a frontline starter before addressing bullpen needs.

The Dodgers, having surpassed a billion dollars in offseason spending with acquisitions like Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Tyler Glasnow, present an intriguing wildcard in this scenario. Despite their substantial investments, the allure of Hader’s exceptional talent is difficult to ignore.

At 29 years old, Josh Hader aspires to rewrite the record books and become the highest-paid reliever, joining the ranks of historic sports contracts like Ohtani’s. His impressive accolades include three NL Reliever of the Year awards in seven seasons, culminating in his 2022 trade to the Padres. Although Yuki Matsui filled the void left by Hader in San Diego, his legacy continues to cast a significant shadow.

As the offseason narrative unfolds, the pivotal question remains: which team will secure the coveted Hader? Will it be the Yankees, eager for redemption, the Dodgers with their financial might, or the Rangers, crafting a new identity? One thing is certain: the battle for baseball’s most electrifying closer is underway, and the bidding war promises to be as captivating as Hader’s formidable fastball.

Josh Hader’s firepower bonanza for Yankees bullpen

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New York’s bullpen showcased its excellence last season, boasting the best ERA across Major League Baseball at an impressive 3.34. Now, with the tantalizing prospect of Josh Hader donning the pinstripes, the already formidable bullpen has the potential to transform into a mythical force in 2024.

Envision this scenario: Josh Hader, the hard-throwing left-hander adorned with three Reliever of the Year awards, concluding games with unmatched fire and fury. Meanwhile, seasoned relief stalwarts such as Clay Holmes, Tommy Kahnle, and Jonathan Loaisiga handle earlier innings, perfectly setting the stage for Hader’s grand finale. The bullpen, armed with substantial firepower, could effortlessly dismantle opposing lineups.

Josh Hader’s addition would also act as a potent remedy for the departure of Michael King, the versatile pitcher traded to the Padres in the Juan Soto blockbuster deal. King played a vital role in 2023, featuring in 49 games, including nine starts, and amassing an impressive 2.75 ERA over 104.2 innings. With Josh Hader on board, the Yankees wouldn’t merely fill the void left by King; they’d elevate it by adding a weapon of legendary proportions.

The question remains: will the Yankees secure Josh Hader and finalize their bullpen masterpiece? Only time will reveal the answer. One certainty is that if the Bronx Bombers unleash this potential bullpen juggernaut, the rest of the league would be wise to seek cover. The Bronx might soon resonate not only with the traditional roar but also with the thunderous crackle of Josh Hader’s fastball, creating a symphony of pitching dominance that promises to echo throughout the 2024 season.

Hader’s redemption arc

All-star closer Josh Hader is linked to the Yankees in the 2023 offseason.
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Josh Hader possesses an arm reminiscent of a cannon, releasing fastballs charged with electrifying energy. In his prime, few pitchers exhibit the same level of dominance. Who can forget May 2021 when he etched his name in history, becoming the quickest hurler ever to achieve 400 strikeouts? He shattered Craig Kimbrel’s record, accomplishing this feat in just 234.2 innings. It was a display of pure, unbridled fire.

However, a shift occurred in 2022 after his trade to San Diego. The initial month resembled a nightmare, with runs seeping out of him like water from a punctured faucet. He relinquished the closer’s role, left on the field to grapple with his struggles.

Fortunately, the Phoenix within Josh Hader rose from the ashes. Come September, he had rediscovered his All-Star form, once again asserting dominance over batters. That flickering flame transformed into a blazing inferno as he surged through the playoffs and into a stellar 2023 season. The once faltering fire was now a roaring blaze.

The pressing question emerges: can the Yankees secure this resurgent version of Josh Hader and elevate him to the centerpiece of their already formidable bullpen? Only time will unveil whether the Bronx will house baseball’s most formidable relief trio: Holmes, Kahnle, and Josh Hader – a triumvirate of terror for opposing hitters. One certainty is that if they succeed, the Yankees won’t merely acquire a closer; they’ll welcome a reborn phoenix, a pitcher who has demonstrated the ability to transform ashes into absolute dominance.

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