The baseball world continues to be shut out of games for the foreseeable future, but that hasn’t stopped some teams from continuing their roster decisions. A former Mariners RHP was released today, which could lead to an interesting reunion.
The Seattle Mariners are still in Peoria, Arizona. At least, most of them are. But while we continue to wait out the worst of the Coronavirus shut down, teams are still free to make roster moves, at least for now. The Washington Nationals did just that today, cutting former Mariners closer Hunter Strickland.
Strickland, who was traded to the Nationals on July 31st, 2019, served as the Mariners closer for 3 games before a shoulder injury in the 5th game of the season essentially ended his tenure with Seattle. Strickland would appear in just one more game for Seattle before he was traded to the Nationals along with Roenis Elias for Taylor Guilbeau, Aaron Fletcher, and Elvis Alverado.
But despite his 4 games with the Mariners, Strickland looked pretty good in his two outings before he got hurt and saw his fastball velocity sit at 95.7 MPH with a solid slider to back it up. Strickland wasn’t that good for the Nationals but is exactly the type of reliever the Mariners could be interested in adding.
He has some closer experience, a reasonable track record of success could be club controlled through the 2021 season and is a proven trade commodity. Strickland would likely compete with Yoshihisa Hirano for the first crack at closer and would allow Seattle to let arms like Sam Delaplane, Wyatt Mills, and Aaron Fletcher stay down in the minors until they are actually ready.
A solid first-half from Strickland could help them land another reliever like Fletcher, who is one of the best in the Mariners system. If Strickland doesn’t gain trade value, the cost to acquire, roughly $1 million, is easily absorbable for a rebuilding team.
There is no downside to adding a player the team is familiar with, and the upside is reasonable enough to take a shot at a reunion. Whether or not MLB would allow such a transaction right now is not known, but if so, adding Strickland could be a nice little buffer move for the bullpen.