Building up the strength of the relief corps has been a constant endeavor of Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro and the rest of the front office for the past few years. Erik Swanson was acquired last offseason, and Génesis Cabrera and Jordan Hicks were in-season trade acquisitions that helped down the stretch run a year ago.
Cabrera is under team control for the next two seasons, but Hicks is a free agent and has seemingly been linked to every team besides the Jays. With the fruitless pursuit of Shohei Ohtani behind them and the decreased possibility of a Cody Bellinger signing, the brain trust could consider spending big bucks investing in the back end of their bullpen.
Josh Hader is the highest-profile free agent reliever on the board and will almost certainly command a salary of over $100M. If that sounds like a lot for a relief pitcher, it is, but there’s no one in the sport like Hader.
The 29-year-old lefty has averaged 15 strikeouts per nine innings for his career and has been named an All-Star in the last five seasons. Investing in Hader would come at a steep price, but he would give John Schneider three effective lefties and three legitimate arms that could close out games.