The Tampa Bay Rays are still searching for help to solidify their bullpen. With the San Francisco Giants firmly in sell mode, the Rays are being connected to reliever Hunter Strickland.
The Tampa Bay Rays bullpen carousel has continued. Danny Farquhar was designated for assignment in late June, as the Rays were looking for a reliever that could get batters out. On Sunday, the carousel stopped on Jumbo Diaz, who was designated for assignment. In his stead, Andrew Kittredge has been called up to the majors, where he would be making his major league debut.
That does not mean that the Rays are done making changes to their bullpen. Instead, Tampa Bay continues to be connected to several relievers that could be available on the trade market. The latest name to have come up is San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland, as the Rays had a scout at Petco Park to watch his performance this weekend.
Strickland would be more than a rental for Tampa Bay. With just over one year of service time thus far, he would be under team control through 2022. If acquired, he would be another piece that the Rays could build around for future success.
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This season, Strickland has had a mixed performance. While his 1.91 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 33 innings are impressive, that ERA is misleading. Strickland also has a 1.455 WHiP, in large part because of his 19 walks. In fact, that walk total equals his mark from last year, set in 61 innings over 72 games.
Based on his performance, Strickland’s 3.26 FIP is more indicative of expectations. However, even if Strickland’s ERA was to regress to its expected number, he would still be one of the better pitchers in the Rays bullpen. Add in his years of team control, and he could be exactly what the Rays need to help solidify the bullpen.
The Tampa Bay Rays bullpen carousel has continued. Considering their interest in Hunter Strickland, it may be a bit longer before things get settled.