Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Even after signing Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, along with acquiring Tyler Glasnow, the Los Angeles Dodgers remain in the market for additional roster upgrades.
Their payroll is likely to hit the highest threshold, but there remains an opening in the starting rotation that could be filled in a few different ways. The Dodgers could dip back into the trade market, as they did with Glasnow, or look toward the next tier of free agent arms.
Some rumblings around Major League Baseball have said that the Dodgers are connected to some of the top available relievers, but adding an arm like Josh Hader to their bullpen isn’t their first priority, per Jim Bowden of The Athletic:
“He’s looking for a deal north of Edwin Díaz. So it would be 5-years, over $100 million. So far, no club has gone to that ballpark, at least as of yet. But the three teams that are in play are New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers. What is very interesting here is It appears that all three of those teams prefer to sign a starter or trade for a starting pitcher, rather than getting a closer.”
Numerous free agent starters are still available, with Shōta Imanaga an interesting name to keep an eye on. Despite what option they go, adding depth to the rotation remains a priority.
Hader would mark a different type of move than how the Dodgers have operated in recent years as they typically haven’t invested big resources into the bullpen.
The 29-year-old closer has been one of the most dominant relievers since debuting in MLB. In 349 career games, he’s logged 165 saves with a 2.50 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.
But the backend of the Dodgers starting rotation could be the area in which they covet a bit more, and wouldn’t cost nearly as much as what Hader is likely to command in a multi-year contract.
A case for adding Josh Hader to Dodgers’ bullpen
The Dodgers have churned out a solid bullpen in recent years with Evan Phillips taking over as the team’s closer following the exit of Kenley Jansen.
Going from Hall of Fame closer to a high-upside guy was the transition they made following the 2021 season. But Phillips has carried the load, compiling a 1.74 ERA, 152 strikeouts, with 26 saves in his three years with the Dodgers.
They’ve severely lacked a surefire left-handed option whose maintained a long run of consistency. Adding Hader to this mix would give them that, and a hefty contract for a closer wouldn’t be unreal, given the unique window they’ve opened up.
The signings of Ohtani and Yamamoto put them in a great spot to maximize both Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman’s next few years, which is why they could give Hader big time money, while feeling okay in doing so.
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