The Dodgers bullpen is in a weird spot after coming out of a 2023 season where they went with a high-leverage-by-committee approach. The strategy worked out great as LA led all teams in reliever fWAR at 7.6 thanks in large part to strong seasons from Brusdar Graterol, Evan Phillips, and Caleb Ferguson, all of whom are all coming back for 2024. But how great could this group be if the front office pulled a shocker and signed Josh Hader away from the Padres to anchor the bullpen?
Over the last seven seasons, Hader has established himself as one of the absolute best relievers in the game of baseball. His career 15.0 K/9 strikeout rate is just absurd, and he bounced back from a tough 2022 season with another fantastic campaign in San Diego (1.28 ERA in 61 appearances).
Hader will play most of 2024 at 30 years old and even as good he is, a three-year deal is about as far as any sane team is going to go on a reliever. However, he's probably going to get $20+ million a year wherever he ends up. Right now, the Orioles are a name that keeps coming up connected with him, in addition to the Phillies, Rangers, and incumbent Padres.
The fit for the Dodgers isn't ideal. They could certainly use an arm like Hader's in their bullpen because, well, every team could. However, Hader is going to be very expensive for a bullpen arm and the Dodgers have some lofty expectations this offseason for higher-profile needs and wants. Sure, it would be great to gobble up a guy from the Padres, but Hader could be a bit of a reach (unless they're throwing financial caution to the wind).