The Washington Nationals released Hunter Strickland Saturday amid a bevy of other roster moves, as announced by their PR department via Twitter. David Hernandez was also granted his unconditional release.
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 four 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 it 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 three home runs in two appearances against the Dodgers in the NLDS, raising his playoff total to a somewhat remarkable nine 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 $1.6M 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.
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