The Nats must pay about one-quarter of Strickland’s $1.6 million contract. The team also released veteran pitcher David Hernandez.
Strickland, 31, went 2-1 with a 5.55 ERA in 2019 over 28 games, with two saves. He appeared in two postseason games for the club, but allowed three homers in two innings for an 18.00 ERA. His connection to the Nats dated to his time with the Giants and his run-in with slugger Bryce Harper.
This offseason at Nationals Winterfest, Strickland said had hoped arriving to camp 100 percent healthy was going to make the difference.
But at West Palm Beach, Strickland was unable to find the consistency he enjoyed prior to last year’s postseason run. In spring training, Strickland surrendered three homers in seven games, allowing nine runs (eight earned) over 6 2/3 innings.
The Nats signed right-hander Hernandez on Feb. 12 and invited him to spring training on a minor league deal. The 34-year-old struggled to an 0-1 record with a 19.29 ERA in four spring training appearances. He had pitched previously for the Orioles, Reds, Giants, Braves, Phillies and Diamondbacks, posting a 38-47 record with a 4.12 ERA in 547 career games, with 24 saves since his debut in 2009.
The Nats also assigned to their minor league camp third basemen Jacob Wilson and Brandon Snyder, catcher Taylor Gushue, left fielder JB Shuck, and right-handers Dakota Bacus, Bryan Bonnell and Wil Crowe.
The club optioned to Triple-A Fresno infielder Jake Noll, left-hander Ben Braymer, and right-handers Aaron Barrett and Kyle McGowin. The 32-year-old Barrett went 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances, allowing a .333 average against.