Hunter Strickland and Bryce Harper don’t exactly have a sterling history.
The Giants pitcher and Nationals outfielder came to blows on Memorial Day in 2017 when Strickland intentionally hit Harper with a pitch, sparking a full-on melee and benches-clearing brawl. The pitch was meant to send a message to Harper after he apparently stared down one of his home runs off Strickland in the 2014 NLDS.
With all this bad blood in their past, one may think that Strickland would not be fond of the idea of the Giants pursuing Harper after the 2018 season when he hits free agency. Not so, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Go for it,” Strickland said Tuesday when asked about the possibility. “If he could make a difference, if he can help us, let’s go get him. We’re here to win.”
Schulman also explored whether Harper would hold the incident against Strickland, and while he says it would seem more likely than the other way around, he noted that “one person who knows Harper well said it was ‘not an issue’ and noted that Harper got along fine with reliever Jonathan Papelbon in 2016 after the teammates had a physical altercation in the Nationals’ dugout the previous September.”
Schulman also noted that Strickland acknowledged that hitting Harper for something that happened in 2014 was a mistake. Strickland has shown increased maturity on the mound in 2018 since assuming the closer role, notching 10 saves and displaying a poise that was often absent in earlier seasons.