1 San Diego Padres trade, 1 free agent, and 1 internal option to replace Josh Hader as closer

Truth be told, there really is no replacing Josh Hader. These three pitchers would be good closers for the San Diego Padres, though.

San Diego Padres closer Josh Hader after nailing down a save
San Diego Padres closer Josh Hader after nailing down a save / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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3) Padres internal candidate to replace Josh Hader: Scott Barlow

The Padres were fourth in the National League in reliever ERA and ninth in all of baseball in that category. Josh Hader was obviously a big reason why, but this bullpen was still very solid overall from an ERA standpoint.

The Padres have a deep bullpen and a couple of guys I believe can realistically take over for Hader and be fine. They won't be better, but shouldn't cost San Diego many games either. Robert Suarez having a healthy offseason should be huge for him as he looks to get back to his 2022 form. A dominant Suarez would be a good fit for the closer role. My pick would be Scott Barlow for the simply fact that he's done it before.

When the Friars acquired Barlow at the deadline in a deal with the Royals he was having a miserable year. He had a 5.35 ERA in 38 appearances with Kansas City before the trade but looked a lot more like the underrated reliever he had been with the Royals before this season.

Barlow was the Royals primary closer in 2021 and 2022 and had sub-2.50 ERAs in both seasons. He didn't save many games, but that had more to do with the Royals not being a good team. He had a 3.07 ERA in 25 appearances and 29.1 innings pitched with San Diego after the trade.

One thing Barlow really had to improve on was his walks as he walked 5.1 batters per nine with the Royals this season. He was able to get that down to a much more manageable 3.7 BB/9. He's at 3.6 BB/9 in his career. Barlow pitched well as his 3.15 FIP would confirm, and he's earned some trust heading into this offseason.