Hunter Strickland was one of the bigger surprises to see non-tendered. He was only projected to make $2.5 million this offseason, but with the Giants needing all the salary space they can get, Strickland was a casualty. He should be one of the more attractive non-tendered free agents this offseason.
The Giants picked up Strickland off waivers from the Pirates just before the 2013 season. Since then, he has developed into a strong reliever in San Francisco. Over five seasons, Strickland has a 2.91 ERA, 3.40 fielding-independent pitching, 1.195 WHIP, and 2.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
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2018 was the first time Strickland finished with an ERA+ below 100, as he had a 98 ERA+ (3.97 ERA) in 49 appearances this year. He also had a 1.41 WHIP, a career-low 18.4% strikeout rate, and career-high 4.42 fielding-independent pitching. Walks have become an issue over the last two years with a 10.8% walk rate in 2017 and a 10.5% strikeout rate in 2018.
Stickland’s bad numbers stem from a poor finish to the year.
He missed two months of action during the middle of the season when he broke his right hand punching a door after a blown save in June. Strickland posted a 6.59 ERA and allowed a 1.055 OPS to opposing hitters in 15 games after returning.
As mentioned previously, the fact that Strickland was non-tendered was a surprise. He was already projected to still be a relatively cheap player for the Giants, and he could come even cheaper after being non-tendered by them. Strickland could wind up being a steal for a Phillies team looking to stabilize their bullpen.