Yankees want hurler Hader but price tag remains an obstacle

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

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Following Yoshinobu Yamamoto‘s choice of the Dodgers leaves a conspicuous void in the Yankees’ pitching staff. Instead of solely pursuing a frontline starter, Brian Cashman appears to be considering a more daring approach: shortening games with a bullpen as potent as it is formidable. Enter Josh Hader, the hard-throwing lefty reliever who has ignited excitement among the Yankees.

However, Hader comes with a hefty price tag, reportedly surpassing Edwin Diaz‘s substantial contract with the Mets. This steep demand presents a dilemma for the Yankees, as Jim Bowden notes, stating that they “prefer to sign a starter” like Jordan Montgomery. Bringing back Monty remains their primary objective, but the allure of Hader is undeniable.


Why Yankees want Hader

Despite a slight dip in dominance from his rookie years, the 29-year-old remains a force late in games. His 2023 resurgence – boasting a 1.28 ERA, 33 saves, and a league-leading 36.8% strikeout rate – attests to his raw talent. While walks continue to be a vulnerability, his fastball still averages an impressive 96.3 mph, complemented by a devastating slider.

A view of the Old Yankee Stadium from the Yankees bullpen in the 1950s.
Tom’s Old Days/ Twitter

The prospect of adding Hader to the Yankees bullpen that already claimed the league’s best ERA last season (3.34) conjures visions of automatic outs and late-inning dominance. The potential duo of Clay Holmes and Hader forms a two-headed monster that would undoubtedly unsettle opposing hitters.

Yet, the lingering question remains: can a dominant bullpen adequately substitute for a solid rotation? Can the Yankees afford to prioritize a reliever over addressing their starting pitching needs? Only time will reveal if Cashman’s gamble pays off, but one thing is certain: the 2024 Yankees promise excitement, both on the mound and in the strategy room.

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