Padres Inherited Former Closer's Usage Restrictions From Brewers: Report

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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When the San Diego Padres acquired former closer Josh Hader midway through the 2022 season, Josh Hader requested that the self-imposed restrictions in his contract with the Milwaukee Brewers remain intact.

The Padres didn’t have a choice if they wanted to acquire one of the game’s best high-leverage arms to bolster their bullpen. They obliged, and Hader never made a multi-inning appearance for San Diego.

In a season and a half in San Diego, Hader recorded 40 saves. This drew the ire of fans as a disappointing 2023 season drew to a close, and Hader would not budge on being used exclusively in the ninth inning. Internally, Hader's usage restrictions might have been unpopular among some within the Padres' ranks too.

When he was on the mound, Hader was generally excellent. He made his fifth All-Star Game and closed five games in the 2022 playoffs without giving up a run. Talks with the Padres never advanced on a long-term deal and after months of waiting, he signed with the Houston Astros.

Hader and his agent, Jeff Berry, created the restrictions that were put in place to keep him healthy.

"From the outside looking in, some people would say it's selfish; some people feel like players should do what they're told," Hader told Buster Olney of ESPN. "But if I get hurt, I'm not able to work. Sometimes you have to protect yourself."

Hader didn’t budge from his usage clause until recently with the Houston Astros. He appeared in multiple innings on April 30, the first time he had done so since Sept. 7, 2021.

The reasoning is that the Astros made a long-term commitment to him. That’s something that he didn’t get from the Padres.

"Any way they want," Hader told ESPN. "They made a commitment to me, and I'll make a commitment to them."

Maren Angus-Coombs


Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite being raised in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer for the LA Sports Report Network.