Hard-throwing reliever Josh Hader and the Houston Astros agreed to a $95 million, five-year contract on Friday, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.
Hader will get a $19 million salary in each of the next five seasons, none of it deferred. He gets a full no-trade provision and would receive a $1 million bonus for winning the Mariano Rivera/Trevor Hoffman Reliever of the Year Award.
Hader's deal can be considered the most lucrative for a relief pitcher, even while falling short of the total dollars in Edwin Díaz’s $102 million, five-year contract with the New York Mets that began last year. Díaz’s deal includes $26.5 million in deferred payments he won’t completely receive until 2042 and was valued at $93.2 million for baseball's luxury tax and $88.8 million by the players' association.
A 29-year-old with long, flowing hair, Hader returns to the Astros organization after spending two years in their minor league system from mid-2013 through mid-2015. He figures to take over as closer and push Ryan Pressly back to a setup role in a bullpen that also includes Rafael Montero and Bryan Abreu.
Héctor Neris became a free agent and remains unsigned. Houston reached the agreement three days after announcing reliever Kendall Graveman will miss the season after right shoulder surgery.
Hader became a free agent for the first time last fall after turning down a $20,325,000 qualifying offer from San Diego, which acquired him in a deadline trade from Milwaukee in 2022. Hader made $14.1 million last year.
He was 2-3 with a 1.28 ERA and 33 saves in 38 chances for San Diego in 61 appearances last season, striking out 85 and walking 30 in 56 1/3 innings. He disappointed in his Padres debut season with a 7.31 ERA and seven saves over 19 games down the stretch.
Hader has been picked to the last five National League All-Star teams, starting in 2018, his first full season in the big leagues. During the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when there wasn’t an All-Star Game, Hader had 13 saves to lead the NL for the only time.
He is 20-21 with a 2.50 ERA with 165 saves in 190 chances over 349 appearances with the Brewers and Padres.
A Maryland native, Hader was a 19th-round draft pick out of high school by Baltimore in the 2012 amateur draft. Hader got traded a year later to Houston, which in 2015 sent him to Milwaukee as part of a six-player deal. He made his big league debut in June 2017, and had a 2.08 ERA in 35 appearances the rest of that season.
Because Hader turned down a qualifying offer, San Diego will receive an extra pick in next July's amateur draft. Houston will forfeit a draft selection.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB