Why The Dodgers Optioned Casey Sadler to Triple-A

On Sunday, the Dodgers optioned right-handed reliever Casey Sadler to make room on the active roster for Hyun-Jin Ryu.

There has been a lot of skepticism regarding the decision since he has been one of their more reliable bullpen arms since being acquired. In 12 1/3 innings for the Dodgers, Sadler has allowed one earned run on seven hits while striking out eight and walking four. On the season, he has pitched 31 2/3 innings with a 1.42 ERA, 19 strikeouts, and nine walks.

So why would they option a guy who has thrown the ball well this season when the bullpen has struggled?

One reason is Sadler has options left. The Dodgers were able to send him to the minors without putting him on waivers, which risks losing him. As rosters expand in September, they’re not going to want to give any reliever away two weeks before that.

That brings us to the bigger reason. The Dodgers are trying to build their best bullpen for October baseball. They’re doing that by giving everyone tryouts to see who sticks. Come September, when everyone is on the roster, Dave Roberts is going to be trying a lot of different things with the bullpen. Having more options available increases the odds of finding a strong group of eight.

Sadler made his case for the postseason roster and he will be back up soon to continue it. For now, the Dodgers can continue to evaluate their other pitchers.

A more minor reason is Sadler’s peripherals suggest he hasn’t been as great as the ERA shows. With a FIP of 4.06, K/9 of 5.40, BABIP of .223 and a LOB% of 90.4%, Sadler is likely due for some regression. In a small sample of four August innings, batters reached base 47% of the time while he was on the mound. He doesn’t have a track record of being a quality bullpen arm so it is a reason to worry.


The Dodgers know how most of their bullpen will look during the playoffs and Sadler is on the outside looking in right now. Quality stuff and high strikeout rates play up in October and Sadler just isn’t that type of pitcher.

Looking to their playoff pen, Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, and Julio Urias are locks. Adam Kolarek is probably close to a lock as their left-handed specialist. One of Kenta Maeda or Dustin May will take a spot (whoever isn’t starting). Tony Gonsolin has strong odds as he can go multiple innings with three filthy pitches and Rich Hill will probably make it as a third lefty since Urias will be used in a multi-inning role.

That’s eight relievers who are probably ahead of Sadler on the depth chart. After that, he is in a battle with Yimi Garcia, J.T. Chargois, Caleb Ferguson, Ross Stripling, and Dylan Floro to be the next man called on.

Even with an idea of how their pen will look, the Dodgers are going to continue to shuffle their relievers around until the end of the regular season and Sadler was just the next man to go in that shuffle.

Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!


  1. This we all know for sure…Yimi Garcia WILL NOT be on the PS roster. he was put in the proper situation in Sunday’s run away game to ‘mop up’ But I could have predicted yet another HR would be given up by him. It happens every time he steps on the mound.

    1. AZUL, Yimi is fast becoming the Curtis Granderson of the pitching staff!!! Absolutely no contribution!!!! Go Blue!!!!

  2. Well, Chargois also has options (he was sent down earlier this year) and, to be blunt, stinks. He has basically zero chance at the post season roster, so why not keep Sadler and find out if the production continues. I’m not a fan of saying the projections are more important than the results. That’s why Barnes (who Pecota projected would hit around .270) stayed up so long when it was clear he wasn’t as good as Smith.

  3. I’ll never understand why the Dodgers care so much about having Garcia on this team fir the last 4 years. So what if he’s out of options? Cut him loose addition by subtraction frankly it should’ve been done years ago. We’re sending a good reliever down for this guy I just don’t get it. Do the Dodgers owe this guy something? Is he a legacy? Is there some kind of deeper personal story with this guy and the Dodgers? Gotta be

    1. I think Yimi Garcia is the new Pedro Baez . Wasn’t too long ago that Dodger fans wanted Baez cut but the team stuck with him and he certainly improved. I think the team sees Garcia in same light hoping he’ll come around this year or next.

  4. I can see the philosophy about Garcia….keep giving him looks BUT perhaps those looks should come at AAA level. Him and Chargois DEFINITELY out of the PS picture; in fact, perhaps its permanent time demotion time for the latter (or even release time); poor kid can’t even do “Garbage Time”.
    Lastly, what’s with Ferguson? he usually sucks as well.

  5. Methinks they should have sent Jansen down to Oklahoma City. He can’t be trusted in meaningful situations.

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