On Thursday, Foul Territory published an interview with newly-minted Houston Astros closer Josh Hader. In the conversation the five-time All-Star discussed his usage and his refusal to go more than one inning. While Hader made some good points, he probably shouldn't have said what he said.
During the 2023 season, Hader's refusal to enter games before the ninth inning reared its ugly head. The San Diego Padres had a depleted bullpen for much of the season and there were multiple times Hader could have helped the team out by coming in to get an out or two in the eighth inning, then stay for the ninth. He wouldn't do it and it hurt the team.
Hader explained his stance stemmed from an arbitration battle with the Milwaukee Brewers where saves were considered his most important stat, rather than innings pitched and overall production. He took that personally and decided to preserve his health and focus solely on saves to maximize his financial future. That carried over into his time with the Padres.
Here's what he had to say:
In short, Hader wasn't willing to put his health and earning power in jeopardy. And, to be fair, he succeeded and cashed in this offseason as Houston gave him a five-year, $95 million contract. On the other hand, that's probably not something he should be saying out loud.
Essentially, he was not willing to risk injury to help his team win, in order to protect his future contract. That's a pretty sh*tty stance to have. Especially if other players on his team were willing to push themselves daily to win games. It's not fair to them.
Hader states his main goal is to win, but that's clearly not the case. His main goal was to preserve his value. Which, hey, it's fine to think selfishly when you're talking about generational wealth. But probably not to the point of actively hurting your team.
Again, what Hader said is reality. Players should probably be a little selfish when it comes to protecting their future earnings. that said, they probably shouldn't openly talk about screwing over their teams for their own gain.