In a surprising twist to a relatively quiet offseason in Houston, the Astros made one of the biggest splashes of the winter, agreeing with free-agent left-hander Josh Hader to a five-year, $95 million contract.
BREAKING: Star closer Josh Hader and the Houston Astros are in agreement on a five-year, $95 million contract, a source tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 19, 2024
The deal contains no deferrals. It is the largest present-day value contract for a relief pitcher in baseball history.
It is a homecoming for the former Astros farmhand, who was dealt to the Brewers in 2015 as part of the trade that brought in Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. But Hader now returns on the largest contract ever given to a closer in present-day value, with no deferrals. With an AAV of $19 million, the Astros are now well past the first tax threshold of $237 million, a response to a depleted bullpen that has lost the services of Héctor Neris, Phil Maton, and Ryne Stanek to free agency in addition to the season-ending injury to Kendall Graveman. With Hader, Ryan Pressly, and Bryan Abreu on the backend, Houston appears poised to have one of the best bullpens in baseball for the upcoming 2024 season.
More analysis to follow.