Dominant Josh Hader run has Astros haters whining about his arbitration manipulation

Uh oh, the Josh-Haters are going to be bad.
Houston Astros pitcher Josh Hader
Houston Astros pitcher Josh Hader / Jack Gorman/GettyImages

Josh Hader has made some enemies this offseason. Hader joined the Houston Astros — that's already going to put you in the crosshairs — and spoke openly about his usage as closer in his previous stops with the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres. Hader was adamant that, having gone through the arbitration process, he had no intention of pitching in non-save situations or going multiple innings of relief.

But since Hader has arrived in Houston, the southpaw has been much more apt to make multi-inning appearances. The Astros closer did so again on Tuesday night when Hader went two innings and helped Houston win in extra innings.

While Kyle Tucker is bound to get a ton of credit with his two home runs, Hader was spectacular. The left-hander put forth a flawless performance in both the ninth and 10th inning, striking out four batters. Hader's 31-pitch outing helped to set the stage for Jeremy Peńa's walk-off and the Astros 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Josh Hader's incredible 10th inning has Astros haters jealous of his arbitration manipulation

Of course those scorned fanbases in Milwaukee and San Diego will lament the fact that Hader never did for them — and they'd be correct. Until this season, Hader hadn't made a multi-inning appearance since 2020. And even that year he only did it once. But the year before, Hader made 25 multi-inning appearances for the Brewers. What changed?

Well, the Astros finally dropped a bag on Hader — signing him to a five-year, $95 million contract — and he responded in kind. This was a business decision by Hader, who knew his worth, and it was one that he and his agent made clear to the team.

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

Whether you agree with Hader's stance or not, he's one of the best relievers in the game. Now that he's being paid like it, Hader has no problem working more than one inning. In fact, Hader has toed the rubber for multiple innings in four of his last nine appearances. The Astros ponied up the dough, and Hader is living up to his end of the bargain.

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