The Tampa Bay Rays made multiple roster moves before their Saturday day game with the New York Mets.
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Hunter Strickland signed a minor-league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason and didn’t start the season in the majors. The Rays selected Strickland from the alternate site on April 9th and has been with the club since.
Strickland has been nothing but solid for the Rays so far in 2021. Strickland has pitched in 13 games on the season, totaling 16 innings. In those innings, Strickland has 16 strikeouts, and an ERA of 1.69.
So, you might ask, why trade him? A good question, but an easy answer. Diego Castillo was recently activated from the injured list, leaving the Rays with one extra pitcher on the roster. This brings us to the second roster move of the day.
Ji-Man Choi was activated from the IL before the game on Saturday. Although Choi wasn’t in the starting lineup on Saturday, he was available off the bench.
For Choi to have a spot on the roster, someone had to go. Strickland was out of minor-league options, so sending him down to Triple-A wasn’t going to happen.
Now, this is just my opinion, but trading Hunter Strickland was the right thing to do. Strickland is an MLB veteran, who has struggled over the past few seasons. Trading him to a team like the Angels, who need immediate help in the bullpen, and will keep him in the majors, was a classy move by the Rays.
Although the Tampa Bay Rays will lose someone who’s been off to a great start in 2021, Angels manager, and old friend, Joe Maddon is thrilled to be getting Strickland.
And for Strickland, he gets a chance to return to the state of California, where he had tons of big-league success. Strickland spent the first five seasons of his career with the Giants, pitching to a 2.91 ERA in San Fran, with 19 saves.
After leaving San Fran in 2019, things went sideways for Hunter. Strickland spent 2019 and 2020 with the Mariners, Nationals, and Mets, pitching to a 5.86 ERA in 27.2 total innings in those seasons. Strickland allowed 27 hits in those innings and had an ERA+ of 77.
So, as it looks right now, everyone wins. The Rays will at some point get a player or cash for Strickland. Hunter Strickland himself will get a chance to build on his very solid 2021 season. And the Angels will get a solid back-end arm to help their league-worst 5.21 ERA.
Oh, and don’t forget, Ji-Man is back!