Dodgers 2019 Player Reviews: Casey Sadler
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Casey Sadler against the Colorado Rockies
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Four weeks before the trade deadline this past season the Los Angeles Dodgers took a step toward addressing their bullpen by acquiring Casey Sadler from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Nathan Witt.

Sadler to that point had only appeared in a combined 20 games over parts of the 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Rays. He struggled with Pittsburgh but had a 1.86 ERA, 4.35 FIP and 1.09 WHIP in nine games for Tampa Bay this year.

Sadler received more opportunities with the Dodgers and also pitched for their Triple-A Oklahoma City affiliate. In 24 games for L.A., the right-hander went 4-0 with one save, a 2.33 ERA, 4.40 FIP and 1.22 WHIP.

Sadler’s performance steadily earned him increased chances to pitch in high-leverage situations. Despite that, however, he was not included on the Dodgers’ active roster for the National League Division Series.

2019 highlight

Having already exhausted trusted relievers Joe Kelly and Pedro Baez, along with Kenley Jansen who blew a save opportunity, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts turned to Sadler. The appearance against the San Diego Padres marked Sadler’s first career save opportunity.

He inherited a 6-4 lead and was tasked with facing the top of the Padres lineup. Sadler allowed a one-out single to Manny Machado but struck out Eric Hosmer — who hit a home run off Baez in the eighth inning — and retired Hunter Renfroe.

Sadler let out a show of emotion when Corey Seager caught the pop-up for the final out of the game. “It’s something you want. You want to be in those situations, whether it be in the ninth, eighth, seventh, whatever,” he said at the time.

“As a reliever you want to be in those situations where it’s game changing. I felt like I was prepared. It was a lot of fun, pretty emotional. It was great to get out there and finish it off for the guys, because they deserved it. They battled their butts off.

“That’s makes a championship team, is the next guy up is ready to go regardless of situation. One guy has an off night, the next guy steps up.”

Sadler also was inspired to pitch well in remembrance of the family of Rays Minor League pitcher Blake Bivens. His wife, son and mother-in-law were tragically killed this week by Bivens’ brother-in-law.

2020 outlook

Sadler figures to receive an opportunity in Spring Training to compete for a spot in the Dodgers’ bullpen. Should he falter, that will lead to time with Oklahoma City and serving as organizational depth throughout the year.

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