In a recent article by MLB.com, Mark Feinsand looked at the top 10 available free agents for this coming 2023-24 offseason. Among them included one of the most potent and feared relievers in the game that he believed would potentially be a good fit for the Philadelphia Phillies. That reliever is none other than five-time All-Star Josh Hader.
Hader was actually also one of the potential targets that we suggested the Phillies should have pursued for the past trade deadline. After all, he is perhaps the best closer in all of baseball right now. Aside from a rare off-year he had last season, he has been dominant in every single season he has played since he made his MLB debut back in 2017 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Hader has certainly put his 2022 season behind him as he has bounced back with an incredible 2023 season, compiling a tidy 1.16 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, giving up only six earned runs all year, 25 walks and 74 strikeouts in just 46.2 innings pitched. For his career, he sports an 18-21 record with 160 career saves, along with a 2.52 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 152 walks and a whopping 637 strikeouts in just 379 innings pitched.
He will be one of the most highly coveted free agents this upcoming offseason, and the Phillies definitely have the money to make it happen if they choose to. However, as the top reliever available in the 2023-24 free agent class, there may be quite the bidding war for his services, but he would definitely be worth it in the long run if they manage to get him.
With current Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel also heading towards free agency at the conclusion of the 2023 season, Hader would certainly be more than an ideal replacement for the flame-throwing closer if the price is right. At just the young age of 29, as compared to Kimbrel who is 35 already, Hader would definitely have plenty left in the tank, thus likely expanding the Phillies’ contention window for a longer period of time.
Moreover, if the Phillies aim to dream big and somehow manage to do the impossible and re-sign Kimbrel, along with grabbing Hader through free agency, they could suddenly be equipped with the best closer combo in all of baseball going forward. That would certainly make them the team to beat in the National League in the foreseeable future.