Chicago Cubs get linked to this free-agent closer yet again

Speculation continues to connect the Chicago Cubs to free-agent closer Josh Hader though it remains unlikely the team will match the asking price.

Sep 26, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Brett Sullivan (29) and
Sep 26, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Brett Sullivan (29) and / Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
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As Chicago Cubs fans continue to wait for the team's first impact move to their Major League roster this off-season, there continue to be connections made between the team and free-agent closer Josh Hader.

The connection is obvious now that Craig Counsell is in place as the Cubs' manager for the next five years. FanSided's MLB Insider Robert Murray talked about the connection during his latest episode of The Baseball Insiders.

There has been little movement on the market for Hader. Hader is undoubtedly the best free-agent relief pitcher on the market and would be a direct answer for the Cubs' need for a late-inning, left-handed relief pitcher. Hader checks both of those boxes while arguably being the best closer in all of Major League Baseball.

The last part is likely the reason why the Cubs should be viewed as an unlikely suitor for Hader. Murray outlined the potential deal that Hader will receive this winter.

"“That contract (Josh Hader’s future contract), when all is all said will end up exceeding with Edwin Diaz got in his deal with the Mets. I could see a deal, similar to last year, with more years on it to lessen the AAV. (average annual value).”"

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Diaz signed a five-year, $102MM extension with the Mets last off-season. For a Cubs team that has shied away from offering multi-year deals for veteran relief pitchers, that type of money for Hader likely is not on the table from the North Siders.

The last time that the Cubs invested heavily in a relief pitcher was the three-year deal they signed with Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel's deal was worth $42MM and much like the Yu Darvish contract shifted the Cubs approach with paying for starting pitching, Kimbrel's deal had the same impact for relief pitchers.

Short of Hader's market never developing, it's unlikely that he reunites with Counsell on the Cubs.

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