Bleacher Report names Braves top landing spot for Josh Hader

MLB: JUL 19 Padres at Blue Jays

MLB Free Agency is really heating up as Thanksgiving approaches. The Braves are still in search for a starting pitcher after missing out on Aaron Nola, but they have already made several moves to bolster their pitching staff.

Before free agency even opened, Alex Anthopoulos signed two of his own relievers, inking Pierce Johnson and Joe Jimenez to multi-year deals. Anthopoulos acquired both players via trade over the last year, and they blossomed into two of the most reliable relievers for Brian Snitker down the stretch.

The Braves then went out and acquired Reynaldo Lopez, signing him to a three-year, $30 million contract. The right-hander averaged 98.2 MPH on his fastball last season and boasts a 3.02 ERA since 2022 out of the bullpen. Lopez has also been used as a starter in the past, and the Braves have said they are going to stretch him out this offseason to see if he could potentially go multiple innings.

Anthopoulos also added lefty Aaron Bummer in a trade with the White Sox. Bummer’s surface-level numbers are an eye-sore, but his peripherals suggest he could be in for some severe positive regression, and as we’ve seen in the past, that typically works out in the Braves’ favor.

On paper, Atlanta’s bullpen is as strong as any other team in baseball. They’ve invested a ton of money into it, and it’s going to be noticeable in 2024 and beyond. However, Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller sees the potential for them to spend even more on relievers, putting the Braves on his list of the top landing spots for Josh Hader

8. Atlanta Braves

We’ve seen Atlanta mentioned somewhat often as a potential No. 3 suitor for Hader behind Texas and Philadelphia. But, really? The Braves have never signed a free agent to a contract worth more than $75.25 million (B.J. Upton a decade ago), but this is where they’re going to plant their first nine-figure flag? When they already have Raisel Iglesias as one of their highest-paid players? And when starting pitching is very clearly the bigger concern? You sure ’bout that?

Miller has the Braves as his eighth top landing spot out of ten, but as you can see, he doesn’t sound too convinced Hader is on his way to Atlanta.

I would actually go as far as to say that there is no way this happens. As of right now, the Braves already have one of the most expensive bullpens in baseball, and it’s a crowded group. Beyond that, while some may have a gripe with Raisel Iglesias, he’s still one of the better closers in baseball. There’s absolutely no reason for the Braves to spend $100 million on a closer after all of their additions this offseason. If they are going to hand out that kind of money, it will be to a starting pitcher.



Photographer: Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire

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