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Milwaukee Brewers acquire Hunter Strickland to deepen bullpen

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Tim Lopes is also up to replace the injured Tyrone Taylor.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers traded away two important bullpen pieces in May, allowing them to shore up their offense and infield with the addition of Willy Adames at shortstop. Their relief depth has been tested a bit since then, however, and yesterday the club announced a move to add a veteran presence to that part of the roster.

Strickland, 32, has appeared in parts of eight season at the MLB level with the Giants, Mariners, Nationals, Mets, Rays, and Angels. Strickland was part of World Series winners with the Giants in 2014 and Washington in 2019, and across 307 career appearances, he owns a 3.29 ERA across 276.0 innings pitched with marks of 8.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.

Strickland started 2021 with Tampa Bay and pitched well, posting a 1.69 ERA across 16.0 innings. His contract was purchased by the Angels in May, but his production cratered with after the transaction. He made nine appearances but only tallied 6.1 innings, yielding seven earned runs with four strikeouts and four walks. He was designated for assignment by Anaheim on June 7th.

Strickland was a flamethrower capable of touching triple-digits early in his career, but while he still throws hard, his average fastball velocity of 94.9 MPH this season is a career-low. His four-seamer and slider are his two primary offerings, and he’ll also occasionally mix in a sinker and a changeup. Strickland has 21 saves and 72 holds across his career, with plenty of experience pitching in the back-end of the bullpen in higher leverage situations, and should have the chance to earn his way into a prominent role for Craig Counsell.

To make room for Strickland on the 40-man roster, Travis Shaw was moved to the 60-day Injured List. Shaw’s shoulder dislocation will keep him out until at least August, and if his rehab doesn’t get the results that are hoped for, he’ll require surgery and miss the rest of the year. In other injury news, Tyrone Taylor was placed on the 10-day IL and utilityman Tim Lopes was recalled.

Taylor was hitting .216/.310/.455 with six home runs in 100 plate appearances for the Brewers this season and had been getting more regular playing time lately with Lorenzo Cain on the shelf. Now, though, Tim Lopes will get his first shot at the big leagues with Milwaukee. Lopes appeared in parts of two seasons with the Mariners in 2019-20 before getting claimed off waivers by the Brewers prior to this season. He started the year on the IL and hit .193/.308/.330 in 104 plate appearances at Triple-A while on rehab assignment and after being activated and optioned.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference