There was an interesting discussion on another site regarding whether the Dodgers should sign Josh Hader. The author supplied some statistics supporting his stance that the Dodgers should sign him:
“Since the 2021 season, Hader has been named an All Star three years in a row, combining for a 2.45 ERA with 103 saves and an excellent 167 ERA+, even after posting a combined 77 ERA+ during the 2022 season. He might not be the same reliever who will strike out over 140 hitters, just as he did in 2018, but he continuously posts impressive strikeout numbers, posting 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings, which is somehow the lowest mark he’s posted since his rookie season in 2017.”
With the DFA of Bryan Hudson, the Dodgers are down to three LHRP on their 40 man: Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia and Ryan Yarbrough. The Dodgers do not have a true closer. Although they do not believe they need one. I am more old school and believe they do, but what do I know.
Hader was very insistent that he would not come in to pitch in the 8th inning. He only wants to close. I beleive he refused to pitch in the 8th in a late season Padres game.
Hader wants more than Edwin Diaz’s 5 year $102MM. Does anyone see AF agreeing to pay Hader that kind of $$$? Does anyone think he should?
IMO there are a couple of LHRP that are available that will come with a much less cost: Wandy Peralta, Brent Suter, and Matt Moore. Depending on what his medicals say, I think Jarlín García could be a consideration.
As far as closers go, I think that is becoming more of a luxury than a need. Most teams are going to close by committee based on who was coming up in the 9th. I like the shut down closer, but that is not how MLB is trending. With Brusdar Graterol and Evan Phillips, I think the Dodgers believe they have the 9th figured out. If Daniel Hudson is healthy, he figures to be able to close. Blake Treinen has closed. The Dodgers are not lacking in relievers with closer experience.
I like Kyle Hurt (RHRP) for 2024 late inning close consideration. I like Ronan Kopp (LHRP) for 2025 late inning close consideration. If he does not make the starting rotation long term, Emmet Sheehan has late inning “stuff” and bravado.
The Dodgers bullpen was a real strength for the club. They had the best bullpen in MLB beginning sometime in June. The Dodgers do not need to spend $100MM on a closer, even if he is LH. That was the strength, and it figures to be even better in 2024.
They still need another SP. If the Dodgers believe they have an extra $100MM, I think they would be better served with signing Shōta Imanaga for the rotation. I do not believe they spend another $100MM on a starter.
The Dodgers offense figures to be stout enough that they can afford to stick Miguel Vargas or Michael Busch in LF and let them prove they are MLB hitters…or not.
The Dodgers have the bullpen covered in mid-relief, multi-inning relief, and late inning high leverage relief. Complimentary LHRP could be targets. I have no idea why Cleveland would even consider trading Emmanuel Clase, but if they are (and it is reported that they are), then Dodgers should be able to put together a package headlined by Michael Busch and Kyle Hurt, to acquire Clase and Shane Bieber. Cleveland has one LHRP, thus maybe include Caleb Ferguson (or if they prefer swingman Ryan Yarbrough).
I think the only way Cleveland does trade Clase is to package him with the costlier Bieber. Bieber would be an excellent #5 or #6 in a 6-man rotation. He is an extension candidate who could assume the same role in 2025-2026.
IMO, Josh Hader is a luxury the Dodgers do not need.
What do you think?