It was the rockiest of roads for Hunter Strickland with the Cincinnati Reds during the 2022 season. Across 62.1 IP, he pitched to a 4.91 ERA and 4.78 FIP, his 4.8 BB/9 and 1.51 WHIP both the worst of his career in any ‘full’ single season.
So, it was a bit of a surprise to see him brought back into the mix for Reds camp in 2023, although this time it was merely on a minor-league pact with an invite to spring training unlike the guaranteed $1.75 million he received last season. With today, Saturday, marking the opt-out day for most all veterans in camps across the country on similar contracts, it appears there will be no reunion between Strickland and the Reds, with the latter announced the former’s release.
Strickland had allowed 10 ER in just 9.0 IP so far in Cactus League action this season, though the effectiveness of his stuff was never really why he was potentially an option if you’d read the tea leaves. That he’d stayed healthy and available almost every single day was his calling card, according to manager David Bell, and in a bullpen mix where that can’t be said about literally anyone else due to injuries, the thought was he might end up with a spot purely as the lone known quantity out there.
That won’t be the case, of course, and with injuries currently haunting Tejay Antone, Justin Dunn, Luke Weaver, Lucas Sims, and Tony Santillan - and those injuries pushing Luis Cessa into the starting rotation - the team’s bullpen looks to be as much of a question mark this year as it was when it was the worst in the entire league last year.
The Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith listed which relievers are still in camp vying for roles, and the numbers match-up almost completely at this point.
The Reds have released Hunter Strickland.— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) March 25, 2023
There are currently nine relievers left in big league camp vying for eight spots: Diaz, Farmer, Sanmartin, Gibaut, Cruz, Kuhnel, Sousa, Young and Law.
That’s certainly one kind of bullpen to assemble.