JAN. 27: Strickland will earn a $1.3MM salary this year and could end up making nearly $2.6MM via incentives based on appearances and games finished, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
JAN. 24: The Mariners have agreed on a one-year contract with righty reliever Hunter Strickland, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Though only a one-year contract, Seattle still retains control over Strickland through the 2021 season, via Strickland’s two remaining arbitration-eligible seasons.
Strickland was something of a surprise addition to the free agent relief market when the Giants designated him for assignment in November, effectively releasing him prior to the non-tender deadline. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected Strickland for a modest $2.5MM salary in 2019, so combined with the team control through 2021, it raised some eyebrows when the Giants parted ways with the 30-year-old.
2018 was, however, the weakest of Strickland’s four full MLB seasons. He posted career-worst totals in ERA (3.97), homer rate (9.1%), grounder rate (38.1%), strikeout rate (7.35), and swinging strike rate, while allowing far more hard contact than in past years — Strickland’s 42.3% hard-hit ball rate dwarfed his 31.7% career rate. The real lowlight was a two-month DL stint due to a fractured hand, an injury suffered when Strickland punched a door in anger after a blown save.
The Giants may have simply felt that a change in scenery was necessary, so the Mariners now get the opportunity at a potential bargain if Strickland returns to his old form. Over 173 2/3 innings and 195 appearances from 2015-17, Strickland was a quality part of San Francisco’s bullpen, posting a 2.75 ERA, 2.84 K.BB rate, and 8.6 K/9. He could find himself in line for saves as part of the Mariners’ drastically overhauled bullpen, with Cory Gearrin and Anthony Swarzak also in the mix for closer duty.
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