Strickland, 31, was acquired by the Nats at last year’s trade deadline. The move was notable for two reasons: in part because he’d made only 4 appearances for the Mariners at the time of the deal after coming back from injury, but more notably because of the interpersonal implications of adding Strickland to the clubhouse given his, shall we say, complicated history with the club (recapped here by Scott Allen of the Washington Post).
Of course, if there were any ill effects, it didn’t hinder the club as they went on to win the World Series, and the Nats spoke highly of Strickland during his time in Washington. Strickland, for his part, contributed as a middle-innings reliever when the Nats were most desperate for one, putting up a 3.14 ERA in August. Unfortunately, the good times did not last for Strickland, whose season came off the rails as he finished the year with a less-than-impressive 5.14 ERA/6.31 FIP as the Nats turned to Daniel Hudson, Sean Doolittle, Tanner Rainey and Fernando Rodney for important innings down the stretch.
A propensity for surrendering long balls eventually cost Strickland his spot on the playoff roster. Strickland gave up 3 home runs in two appearances against the Dodgers in the NLDS, raising his playoff total to a somewhat remarkable 9 home runs against in just 13 career playoff innings. After his release, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman notes that the Nats will remain on the hook for about one-quarter of his $1.6MM contract signed this offseason.
Hernandez, 35, was brought in on a minor league deal after a tough season last year with the Reds. Hernandez racked up an 8.02 ERA over 47 appearances, though a 4.34 FIP certainly paints a much different picture of his season.
The Nationals also optioned Jake Noll, Aaron Barrett, Ben Braymer and Kyle McGowin to Triple-A. Jacob Wilson, Brandon Snyder, Taylor Gushue, JB Shuck, Dakota Bacus, Bryan Bonnell and Wil Crowe were reassigned to minor league camp.
It’s worth noting, the announcement of roster moves at this time is a little surprising, given the state of affairs. There was talk of a freeze on roster moves, but there was not a formal directive to do so.