Still waiting on that massive bullpen move for the Los Angeles Dodgers, eh? Shortly after the Yoshinobu Yamamoto signing, there was speculation Andrew Friedman was going to make a move for Cleveland Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase.
That could still happen, but there are far more hoops to jump through on the trade market, especially when a team like Cleveland is involved. They Guardians are not ones to make moves in haste, and they always ensure to thoroughly scout before parting with their premier assets.
Kind of like ... how they got Clase in the Corey Kluber trade with the Texas Rangers! Yeah, that's why they're able to consistently compete despite barely ever spending any money.
That creates difficulty for the Dodgers, even if they need to clear roster spots. Clase will be coveted by almost every contender out there because of his team-friendly contract, which will create even more competition on the trade market.
As LA has proven this offseason, one of their unique advantages is spending loads of money when they deem the timing to be right. And that could reportedly be the case in their speculated pursuit of former Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader.
Dodgers Rumors: LA plotting next blockbuster free agency move after Yamamoto?
Hader's market is believed to be in the $20 million AAV range with various insiders projecting a deal going three or four years. His track record is very similar to that of Edwin Diaz, who signed an historic five-year, $102 million contract with the New York Mets after the 2022 season.
If Diaz is entering his age-30 season on a $20 million AAV, then it's likely Hader will be doing the exact same heading into his age-30 season in 2024. Hader debuted the year after Diaz and in many ways has better numbers (and three more All-Star appearances).
Due to the Dodgers' lack of lefties in their bullpen (and lack of overall stability in the back end), Hader, as Jon Morosi mentioned in the video above, is a logical connection to make if Friedman isn't done doling out cash.
With Hader being a clear free agency layup, this might be the route the Dodgers decide to go in addressing their bullpen. They need starting pitching as well, but the trade market might be better for that since they want to limit long-term financial commitments after Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Ohtani and Yamamoto have joined the team over the last four years.
Hader on a short-term, front-loaded multi-year contract seems to be the play, and the Dodgers are of the few teams that are willing and able to make it happen.