The Detroit Tigers bullpen looks to be in much better shape that it was in 2023. With the additions of Andrew Chafin and Shelby Miller, this is a 'pen that should perform much better than it did a season ago.
However, you can always get better. Scott Harris has said so himself. On paper, this looks a solid bullpen as is, but it could still be improved.
So why not improve it with the best reliever availble on the market?
I should preface this by saying I believe that the possibilty of the Detroit Tigers signing Josh Hader is astronomically low. It's not impossible, because they could if they really wanted to, but I don't think they do. I'll get into the reasons why later on.
But if the Tigers were able to land Hader, oh boy. That would make this one of the best bullpen in the league.
For the most part, Hader has been dominant since 2017. He has a career K/9 over 15, which is absurd. Walks have been an issue for him at times, but he's been one of, if not the best left-handed reliever in baseball over the past several seasons.
Last season was a huge bounce back for him after a rough 2022. He had a 1.28 ERA and 33 saves with a 13.58 K/9 in 56.1 IP.
The best part about Hader might be just how versatile he is. He doesn't necessarily have to be the closer. When he was with the Brewers, they would use him as a multi-inning shutdown reliever at times. He pitched 81.1 innings in 2018 with just 12 saves. A.J. Hinch could use him whenever he feels it's necessary, and that's how he loves to use his relievers.
Hader would also give the Tigers a third lefty to go along with Chafin and Tyler Holton. That's a pretty good repertoire of southpaws to choose from.
To add to that, Hader would give this bullpen so much depth. In additon to Hader, the Tigers would have Jason Foley, Alex Lange, Will Vest, Miller, Chafin, Holton, and then either Beau Brieske, Alex Faedo, Miguel Diaz, and Brendan White to fill things out. When the only question mark is the last spot, that's a pretty deep bullpen.
Josh Hader would be a fantastic addition to the Tigers bullpen. But it's most likely not happening.
First off, Hader is reportedly seeking a deal larger than the one Edwin Diaz signed with the Mets last offseason. For those unaware, Diaz signed a five-year, $102 million deal with New York after the 2022 season. That's about $20 million a year for a guy that's only going to pitch in 70-75 games. That's not exactly smart spending, and this is coming from me, aka the "spend money" guy.
Chances are, Harris probably believes the same thing. Giving a huge contract to a relief pitcher is very risky, especially since relievers are so volatile from year to year. After all, Hader had a 5.22 ERA in 2022. He was amazing pretty much every other season, but that one down year does stick out, and could easily happen again.
I'd love to have Josh Hader in the Detroit Tigers' bullpen for the next five years or so, but it's just not likely. We can dream, though.