MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 26: Josh Hader #71 of the San Diego Padres visits with his former teammates in his first visit bak to Milwaukee before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on August 26, 2023 in
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Josh Hader Sweepstakes Adds Surprise MLB Team

Five-time All-Star closer Josh Hader has been a free agent since the beginning of November, and while he hasn't seen a ton of movement in his market of interested teams, that could be changing according to recent rumors.

As recently as December 29, the left-handed hurler's market was rumored to include the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. According to a January 18 report from Ken Rosenthal and Chandler Rome of The Athletic, the Houston Astros are another team targeting the reliever.

The Astros already have a closer in Ryan Pressly. He's been with the club since 2018 and has been the primary closer since 2021. Pressly has saved at least 26 games in each of the last three seasons, including two straight performances of 30-plus saves in 2022 and 2023. It doesn't hurt that he's put together a 2.22 ERA across 44.2 postseason innings, all of which have come with Houston. He hasn't allowed a single run since the 2021 postseason, and even then, Pressly's ERA settled in at 0.93.

While Houston doesn't necessarily need a closer, they might want to move Pressly to eighth-inning duties, per The Athletic. Set-up man Kendall Graveman underwent shoulder surgery this week, ending his 2024 campaign before it could start. So, that leaves a hole at the back of the Astros' bullpen. There are several relievers with eighth- and ninth-inning experience available via free agency, but none are as good as Hader.

The lefty owns a career 2.50 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with 648 strikeouts in 388.2 innings pitched. His walk year in 2023 with the San Diego Padres was even better. It included a 1.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 33 saves and 86 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. Hader and his representation have been rumored to be looking to beat Edwin Diaz's five-year, $102 million contract from last winter, which is the richest ever for a reliever.

MLB Trade Rumors predicted he'd land a six-year, $110 million contract at the start of the offseason. However,'s Mark Feinsand reported that the chances of Hader exceeding Diaz's record-breaking contract are decreasing by the day.

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