Josh Hader signing with the Houston Astros might not matter much at all to the New York Mets. They have their closer, Edwin Diaz. The possibility of the Mets ever pairing Diaz and Hader together was never realistic. His five-year contract worth $95 million handed down by Houston assures it.
Why feel anything at all? For starters, he’s not on the Philadelphia Phillies roster right now. One of the best matches for Hader sits right here in the National League East. Who they’ll assign to finish games for them is a bit more unknown. Let them scramble. Let them squirm.
It’s not where Hader landed that benefits the Mets most. It’s the dollars. Worth only $7 million less than what Diaz signed, the key is that it was less at all.
The Josh Hader deal works for the Mets in every way
The market for top relievers didn’t go up and it should make Diaz even more likely to opt in after 2025. If Hader got more, there might be some temptation on his part to look for a fresh contract as soon as possible. We know exactly why Francisco Lindor got $341 million. It was a million more than Fernando Tatis Jr.
Hader was the only closer in baseball with the possibility of overtaking Diaz and his $102 million deal signed last offseason. No one else out there looks even close to their level. It requires years of excellence in the ninth inning on top of hitting free agency at the right time.
Diaz’s opt out would come ahead of his age 32 season which is a bit trickier than when he was in his 20s last winter. Would he risk the guaranteed money for two more years in a free agent market that tends to prefer going much shorter with players in his role?
The Diaz deal gives the Mets a chance to opt out before the 2028 season, a sixth year available to them. At that point, Hader will be in the final year of his contract with Houston. He has no opt outs available to him nor is a portion of his deal part of a signing bonus as Diaz’s is.
There is no telling at what level Diaz will be by the time any of these opt outs come around. At least, for now, the market for pitchers of his ilk have settled. His deal might not be valued higher than Hader’s with the amount of deferred money he will receive from the Mets. A $2.65 million paycheck when he’s 48-years-old in 2042 should be satisfying enough.
Closers in baseball can be like running backs in the NFL. A good one is great, but sometimes a couple of average guys can get the job done. We’re all under the belief Diaz has a few more elite seasons ahead of him. What is his driving force? Is it to win a World Series with the Mets or to earn a little more money than he’s already bound to get from them? Hearing Timmy Trumpet anywhere else wouldn’t feel right.