Joe Musgrove takes shot at Josh Hader while praising Padres’ new closer

The shade that Joe Musgrove threw at the former Padres' closer was an all-timer.
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

If you are a San Diego Padres fan, it is really hard not to love Joe Musgrove. In addition to being an incredibly talented pitcher who generally gives the team a chance to win every time he takes the mound, he's also very quick to back his teammates when given the opportunity.

When the 2023 season was spiraling downward and there was talk about trading guys like Blake Snell and Josh Hader at the deadline, he went to bat publicly for his Padres teammates' ability to rebound and declared that they would still be a good team without those guys.

While the trade deadline came and went without San Diego selling off those guys, Musgrove endeared himself to Padres fans with his confidence, not only in himself, but in the Padres' roster. That confidence was clearly somewhat misplaced given how the 2023 season went, but you love to see that kind of fire out of a guy.

It appears as though nothing has changed in 2024. When asked after Wednesday's game about Robert Suarez's stellar performance, Musgrove made sure to take a shot at former Padres closer Josh Hader while praising Suarez along the way.

Padres fans should love Joe Musgrove's comments about Robert Suarez and Josh Hader

While Hader was legitimately awesome for the Padres last year, his reluctance to pitch more than one inning at a time definitely made navigating the late innings more difficult, and there were certainly some people that were not a fan of his stance. Clearly we can count Musgrove amongst those that wish he was more flexible.

That said, one probably needs to be careful in taking Musgrove's comments too far. If the decision was up to Musgrove, it is a mortal lock that he would have brought Hader back and been thrilled to have him pitching in the ninth for San Diego this year and beyond. Musgrove was gassing up Suarez for doing an awesome job and, yes, taking a little dig at a guy who isn't with the team anymore. Thinking it was anything more than that seems to be a bit much.

To be honest, the Padres (and baseball in general) need more of this sort of stuff. San Diego comes into the 2024 season needing some fire, confidence, and leadership, and a guy like Musgrove is going to have to take on that role for the Padres to succeed in 2024. If that means propping up his teammates somewhat at the expense of guys who left, so be it.

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