Could the Yankees be interested in signing closer to a record-breaking contract?

mlb: colorado rockies at san diego padres, yankees, josh hader
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San Diego Padres star closer Josh Hader put together the second-best season of his career in 2023 and is looking for a big payday this offseason. With the New York Yankees looking to upgrade their roster, will management make a move for the All-Star?

Can The Yankees Make Josh Hader the First $20 Million Closer in History?

Jim Bowden of The Athletic mapped out a list of the top 40 free agents and named the Yankees as one of five teams that Hader could wind up on, saying this in part about the price at which he’ll come:

“He [Hader] wants to be the highest-paid closer in the sport and I think he will be, by average annual value, when he signs his next contract this winter,” said Bowden.

Hader recorded 33 saves on the year and did so with a pristine 1.28 ERA and 1.101 WHIP. He delivered on every last cent of the one-year, $14.1 million deal the Padres gave him prior to the start of the 2023 campaign.

mlb: san diego padres at san francisco giants, yankees, josh hader
Sep 26, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Josh Hader (71) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Becoming the highest-paid closer will require Hader to see around $19 million or more a year. He was the fifth-highest-paid closer in 2023 behind Edwin Diaz’s record-breaking $18.4 million, Raisel Iglesias (Atlanta Braves – $16M), Kenley Jansen (Boston Red Sox – $16M) and Liam Hendricks (Chicago White Sox – $14.3M).

Hader outpaced Jansen and Hendricks and tied Iglesias in saves on the year. He is also known to deliver in the postseason, making good on four saves in five appearances for the Padres the last time he was seen in the 2022 postseason.

The Yankees Have A Strong Bullpen at a Fraction of Hader’s Projected Asking Price

The Yankees’ bullpen was steady for them behind 44 saves — good for seventh-most in the league. Current starter Clay Holmes’s 2.86 ERA and 24 saves led the way for New York. Considering Holmes had his second season with a sub 3.00 ERA and at least 20 saves on $1.1 million annually, he, along with the rest of the Yankees’ closers, do a good enough job to seal games for the team at the price they come at.

However, Hader’s dominance is undeniable and would give head coach Aaron Boone an elite weapon for future playoff runs, especially in hopes of taking down the other powerhouses in the American League.

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