Hader ready to take on challenge in Houston

HOUSTON — Josh Hader and the Houston Astros weren’t ready to define what his role would be in the bullpen that day. announced his contract For five years and $95 million.

It appears he will handle closer duties and relegate Ryan Pressley to set-up duties in a bullpen that also includes Rafael Montero and Brian Abreu.

But Hader and general manager Dana Brown declined to say what the plan was.

When asked if he expected to be the team’s closer, Hader said Monday, “We signed here to win baseball games, to win championships.” “I think as Dana says, Ryan is in the same boat and we’re all in the same boat to do whatever it takes to win the game and get to the finals.”

Regardless of which inning Header is used, the Astros are excited to have the combination of him, Pressley and Abreu pitch in the final inning.

“That’s a very special arm and he’s part of a very special trio on the back end,” Brown said.

Hader will receive a salary of $19 million in each of the next five seasons, without deferring anything. He gets a full no-trade clause and a $1 million bonus if he wins the Mariano Rivera/Trevor Hoffman Reliever of the Year award.

Hader’s contract may be considered the most lucrative for a reliever, even though it is less than the $102 million cash prize Edwin Diaz received over five years with the New York Mets starting last year. Diaz’s deal includes a $26.5 million deferred payment that he will not receive in full until 2042 and was assessed $93.2 million for baseball’s luxury tax and $88.8 million for the players’ union.

The 29-year-old Hader and long, wavy hair returned to the Astros organization after spending two years in their minor league system from mid-2013 to mid-2015.

He’s excited to finally play for the Astros after being traded before reaching the big leagues. He said he maintained a connection to Texas after meeting his wife, Maria Hader, in Corpus Christi, Texas, when he played there for Houston’s Double-A affiliate.

“I promise to give them everything I have on the field and in the community,” he said. “We’re excited to win here now and for many years to come.”

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