New York Mets sign Hunter Strickland and will add him to player pool

Andres Chavez
Simeon Woods-Richardson
Mar 23, 2019; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; A view of the Grapefruit League logo on the hat of New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets made a depth signing on Monday morning, as they look to solidify their bullpen with an eye on the MLB 2020 season that will start on July 23rd. The team inked right-handed pitcher Hunter Strickland to a minor league contract.

The Mets announced the move on their official Twitter account. The hurler, known for his stints with the San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals, has been added to the club’s 60-man player pool, which means he is eligible to play this season if they so decide.

Strickland was let go by the Nats in March after posting some ugly numbers in the abbreviated spring training. He wasn’t effective last season, either, with a 5.55 ERA in 28 relief appearances and 24.1 frames between the M’s and the World Champions.

The Mets are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle

He is not expected to have a prominent role in the New York Mets’ relief corps unless his performance dictates it. After all, the team’s bullpen is fairly set, with Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, Brad Brach, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and company.

The 31-year-old hasn’t been good since 2018, when he had a 3.97 ERA and a 4.42 FIP in 45.1 innings with the Giants. He served as the team closer for a spell that year, saving 14 games.

For his career, the new Mets’ signee has a 16-15 record with 21 saves in 281 games and 250.1 frames. He accumulates a 8.23 K/9 (which has been declining for a few years now) and a 3.13 BB/9. He holds a very good 3.16 career ERA and a 3.68 FIP.

The Mets are hoping that the experienced Strickland can recapture the form that made him one of the best middle relievers in the National League West division from 2015 to 2018. During that period, he even had a couple of sub-3.00s ERA seasons.