top of page

Houston Astros make Josh Hader the Highest Paid Relief Pitcher in MLB History

Updated: Jan 20

The rich just got richer in baseball, and no I don’t just mean the Houston Astros, a team that’s been to seven consecutive American League Championship Series while winning two World Series in the process (2017, 2022), but also All-Star relief pitcher Josh Hader.

Hader, a former member of the San Diego Padres agreed to a record-breaking five-year, $95 million deal. The deal doesn’t include any deferrals, making him the highest-paid relief pitcher in MLB history.

Hader joins an Astro team returning a majority of its group and he’ll be bolstering a bullpen that also includes relief pitchers Bryan Abreu and Rafael Montero with future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander as starting pitcher which makes for a devastating variety of pitchers hitters have to worry about every night.

Hader is no stranger to the Astros organization, having been groomed in their minor league system from 2013 to 2015. From the moment he officially stepped into the major leagues, he has been an All-Star in each of his five full seasons, establishing himself as one of the best closers in all of baseball.

His 153 saves since the start of 2019 lead the majors. His 437 strikeouts in those five years are 59 more than the next-closest reliever. During that span, he had a 2.60 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.

Hader equips a devastating sinker-slider pitching combination that has helped him net a career 15.0 strikeout-per-nine rate, the highest in history among those who accumulated at least 50 innings.

Hader helped anchor bullpens such as the Milwaukee Brewers, a team he constantly helped overachieve before joining the Padres,  helping them reach the 2022 National League Championship Series after getting traded to the Padres in the summer of 2022.

Hader’s deal comes with a no-trade clause protection over the next five seasons and doesn’t include any opt-outs or options. He will be paid $19 million annually and can collect an extra $1 million for winning the Reliever of the Year Award back-to-back in 2018, 2019, and again in 2021.


bottom of page