It’s not a big league signing – still none of those yet – but it’s a trade for a guy who goes on the 40-man roster, so it’s kinda almost like a big league deal!
Today, the Chicago Cubs acquired righty Casey Sadler from the Dodgers for minor league infielder Clayton Daniel. Sadler goes onto the 40-man, which now stands at 39.
Many years ago, Sadler was a notable prospect in the Pirates’ organization, but a 2016 elbow injury required Tommy John surgery, and his trajectory changed from there. 2018 was Sadler’s first full year back from Tommy John, where he eventually transitioned into the bullpen, and then wound up splitting his 2019 season between the Rays and Dodgers, getting absurdly good results despite mediocre peripherals: 2.14 ERA (46.1 innings), 4.38 FIP, 16.0% K rate, 6.7% BB rate, 15.8% soft contact rate, 37.0% hard contact rate, 51.8% groundball rate.
Really, nothing stands out at you as to why Sadler got such good results, so we’ll have to dig in on that one. One clue is that his expected wOBA at Statcast suggests batters don’t square him up very often at the idea angle, so there might be some funk there. He definitely has some serious spin:
Casey Sadler…yeah safe to say Cubs are grabbing as much spin as they can find and seeing if their new development team can mold these guys pic.twitter.com/a4UNLfMEne
— Cooper (@RushingBaseball) January 17, 2020
Ultimately, Sadler is another arm added to the mix of potential bullpen options for the Cubs this year (they also added Jason Adam this week). Without a robust free agent market for relievers – or money to spend at the moment – the Cubs are going with a huge volume of “could be” guys, and hoping they can sort it out quickly in March and April.
Daniel, 24, was the Cubs’ 31st rounder in 2018, showing off a nice high-contact bat at Low-A and AA last year in small samples.