5 free agents the Cubs must target - 5. Josh Hader
With obvious ties to Craig Counsell, this move makes sense for all parties involved. Hader is one of the most elite relievers in the game; the Cubs bullpen fell apart at the end of the season, the ties to Counsell, the need for a true closer (Although Alzolay was spectacular in his role), the lack of left-handed pitching in the bullpen in 2023, the time being now for the Cubs to go past the luxury tax threshold and go for it, it all just makes sense and fits perfectly if you're Jed Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs.
His track record speaks for itself: a career 2.50 ERA and at least 33 saves every year since 2019 (not including 2020 for COVID-19). A five-time all-star, Hader's elite 13.6 K/9, including 85 punch-outs in 56.1 IP this season, is beautiful. Adding Hader to the end of the bullpen is a surefire way to lock down games, especially with a setup man like Alzolay, who can step in for save opportunities if necessary. He will cost a pretty penny as a reliever, but Hader is a fantastic fit if you're willing to go over the luxury tax.