The Washington Nationals knew who Hunter Strickland was prior to the 2019 trading deadline. He was guilty of throwing at Bryce Harper, when the young outfielder played for the Nationals, inciting a bench clearing brawl.
Nonetheless, the Nationals were in dire need of some bullpen relief and the Seattle Mariners were desperate to dump some salary and get some prospects in return.
On the surface, this looks like a good trade and the bullpen makeover helped the Nationals win the World Series.
Digging deeper, Strickland was as advertised. He may have had a 2-0 record in 2019 with the Nationals, though he pitched to the tune of a 5.14 earned run average. He struck out less than one batter an inning, gave up five home runs in twenty-one innings, and had an ERA of 18.00 in the two postseason games he did appear in.
He was left off the NLCS and World Series rosters.
Strickland was in camp with the Nationals during spring training, though the gopher ball continued to be his undoing. He was released in mid-March prior to the roster freeze taking place.
The Nationals had a need to improve the bullpen in 2019. Hunter Strickland simply didn’t pan out.