Mariners sign free-agent Strickland
New Mariner reliever Hunter Strickland
Right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland, last seen in the uniform of the San Francisco Giants, today signed a one-year contract with the Mariners. Financial details were not yet available, but the contract value is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $2.5 million. Strickland, 30, is still shy of the six years of service time needed for unrestricted free agency, so even though the deal is for one year, the M's still have team control through 2021 via arbitration.
Released by the Giants last November, Strickland has a career record of 14-14 with a respectable 2.91 ERA over four-plus seasons in San Francisco. Last year was his least impressive, evidenced by a 3-5 record, 3.97 ERA, and 1.412 WHIP, but that performance was hindered by a lengthy stay on the disabled list with a broken hand—before the injury, Strickland's numbers were quite decent, but after his return he went 0-2 with an ugly 6.59 ERA and 1.829 WHIP in 132⁄3 innings.
It was the Georgia native's second significant injury, the first being more severe as he underwent Tommy John surgery as a minor-leaguer in 2013. He returned from that surgery successfully, shooting up the Giants' minor-league ladder all the way from advanced-Class-A to the Majors in 2014.
The broken hand was painful in more ways that one, as that injury was self-inflicted. After blowing a save in a June game against Miami, Strickland punched a door with his pitching hand, fracturing bones and landing him under the surgeon's knife. In an apologetic statement on social media, Strickland wrote "I completely understand how this portrays my character, which I will humbly work on areas in my life that need refinement." Strickland had been serving as San Francisco's closer and had racked up 13 saves and a 2.01 ERA before the fateful loss to the Marlins.
Strickland figures to compete for closer duties with fellow veterans Anthony Swarzak and Cory Gearrin this spring.