#2 – RHP Hunter Strickland – Cincinnati Reds
Hunter Strickland, one of the most dominant arms in the Brewers bullpen last season, signed a one-year, $1.825MM contract with the Cincinnati Reds on the heels of a very strong performance in 2021.
In 36+ innings across 35 games for the Crew last year, Strickland posted a sparkling 1.73 ERA and a 247 ERA+, striking out 38 batters and walking just 12. He has shown glimpses of success multiple times over the course of his career, primarily at the back end of the San Francisco Giants’ bullpen, but has yet to achieve solid numbers across consecutive seasons.
To begin 2022, Strickland has struggled mightily in his first 13+ innings and 14 appearances. He has walked 14 batters and struck out just 11 while posting a 6.59 ERA and a just-as-scary 5.73 FIP. 10 earned runs in 13 innings for Strickland is not going to cut it if he hopes to stick around, even when he’s playing on a team as awful as the Cincinnati Reds.
#1 – OF Jackie Bradley Jr. – Boston Red Sox
Perhaps the one player on this list that Brewers fan will not miss, Jackie Bradley Jr. returned to the Boston Red Sox via trade in December of this past year.
Bradley, now 32, was quite literally the worst offensive player in the majors last season, posting a slash-line of .163/.236/.261 while striking out in a whopping 30% of his plate appearances. His OPS+ on the season was just 33. While his glove remained one of the very best in the league, his bat was dreadful and ultimately earned him a -1.9 oWAR on the year.
In the trade that netted the Brewers Hunter Renfroe, Bradley went back to Boston where he enjoyed a pretty successful eight-year run from 2013 to 2020, making an All-Star Game and earning a Gold Glove Award along the way.
To begin the 2022 season, JBJ has continued to slide – posting a .195/.271/.287 slash line with no home runs and 23 strikeouts through his first 97 plate appearances. While his 63 OPS+ is slightly higher than it was last season, this continued offensive slump has now stretched into a second year, certainly a cause for concern.
While the Brewers have turned Jackie Bradley Jr. into Hunter Renfroe, a few of these other names will be sorely missed amongst your everyday Brewers faithful. Now it’s up to the Crew to show that they can have sustained success without a lineup featuring Vogelbach, Garcia and Escobar.