According to Matt Eddy from Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have released right-handed pitcher Casey Sadler. He had Tommy John surgery back in October, putting him out for the 2016 season. The Pirates dropped him from the 40-man roster shortly after his surgery, sending him outright to Indianapolis. Sadler last pitched in June before being shutdown, which eventually led to the surgery.

This shouldn’t be a surprise move because Sadler will reach minor league free agency at the end of the 2016 season, meaning he wasn’t going to pitch for them before becoming a free agent. This could mean that they will try to re-sign him to a two-year deal, which would then cover his first year of free agency. That usually happens with players who are injured and will miss the majority(or all) of the first season of the contract.

Updated 2:10 pm: The Pirates have already re-signed Sadler according to Matt Gajtka at DK Pittsburgh Sports(subscription required). We got confirmation that it’s just for one year. Neal Huntington had this to say about bringing Sadler back:

“Our hope is to help him get healthy this year, have him remain with us going forward by re-signing him and look to have him help [in Pittsburgh] in 2017 and beyond.”

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44 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure why Sadler is considered someone they needed to resign though, as they have equal or better prospects without the injury issue who will be available by next year.

    • You can never have too many good pitchers. At this point he’s probably bullpen depth. But still, it doesn’t hurt to keep these guys around.

  2. Good….I was hoping you were right and that they would re-sign him….too young to give up on him…

  3. Not to change the subject but has anyone read the Federal Indictment regarding the Cardinal Hacking incident? There is no way in hell that the Cardinals as an organization did not know that this was going on. Reading the indictment also gives an interesting insight into MLB scouting, drafting etc. I will be shocked if MLB does not substantially punish the Cards.

    • This is something we probably wouldn’t have heard about if Matt Eddy didn’t come across the one transaction only. The only thing that changed at this point were some terms in the contract, so it was basically a paper move due to legal mumbo jumbo. It’s been updated above, we were just waiting on some clarification about it being one year or beyond

    • He really struggled in his return while pitching in AA. At 28, I’d say things don’t look so good for him now. Tough for him because he had multiple major surgeries and went over two full years between appearances, so that is going to really set back someone who wasn’t a young top prospect

  4. If he does not get signed by someone, how could he rehab when
    he would be out trying to make enough money to survive?

    Hope he would not have a family to support as well.

    This sounds like a difficult situation. Hope its resolved in
    a positive way

    • You can find some other answers in other comments, but it sounds like you’re severely overestimating a AAA salary for someone who isn’t on the 40-man roster and hasn’t reached free agency yet. He isn’t losing that much money by not being signed right now. Technically he won’t be losing any money at all until the first paycheck in April, so if he was desperate for money, he should be working somewhere already. But we are talking about the amount of money he could make working at McDonalds part-time, so I highly doubt being signed right now is an issue, players only get paid during the season.

      As far as Sadler goes, if he was at all good with money, then he should be fine right now. He has a half year in at the Major League level, plus two years on the 40-man, which is higher pay in the minors, plus two playoff shares the last two years, plus he got a six-figure bonus to begin with. That’s not that bad over the last two years alone. The rehab and health insurance are covered by MLB, so that isn’t an issue either.

      Added just for reference: If AAA salaries remained the same in 2016, then the first time a non-40, non free agent gets a paycheck, he will get $1075 before taxes and clubhouse fees and that first check would come three months and a week from now. He would receive that same amount every 15-16 days, ten total for the year, ending on the last day of the season. I hope that eases any concerns about him making a living as opposed to spending the year on the DL.

      • You are saying that AAA players get $10750 a season. inor League Salary

        Until a minor league player is placed on a 40-man roster, monthly salaries are $1150 for the short season teams, $1300 for low A and $1500 for high A. For players repeating a year at the same level, the salary goes up $50 each year. For AA, the monthly salary is $1700 and it goes up $100 per month for subsequent years. For AAA, the monthly salary is $2150 per month and it goes up to $2400 the second year and $2700 the third year.
        If a player becomes a minor league free agent, higher salaries can be negotiated.
        A player must be placed on the team’s 40-man roster or be subject to the Rule 5 Draft at the end of his fourth season (if signed at age 19 or higher) or fifth season (if signed at age 18 or lower).
        Salary for first year on 40-man roster:
        2013: $39,900
        2014: $40,750
        Salary for second year on 40-man roster or if one or more days of Major League service time:
        2013: $79,900
        2014: $81,750
        Meal money is $25 per road day.
        Minor league salary must be at least 60% of the player’s combined minor league and Major League salary in the preceding season.

        • The only thing your copy and paste is missing is that players only get paid during the regular season. That last part isn’t a rule for every case, but I’m not sure if it applies to him or not, so I could be way off on my estimate. If it was, that would mean the Pirates would be paying Brandon Cumpton over 300k this year not to pitch at all since he spent all of 2015 on the MLB 60-day DL getting paid and accruing service time.

          I think it’s a moot point regardless, as Sadler is solid MLB depth when healthy, so someone will sign him if the Pirates don’t intend to. It only makes sense to restructure his contract, since anyone who signs him for this year will just be rehabbing him and what would stop him from signing elsewhere next year without that second year in the contract? If that 60% is correct for him, think about paying him over $100K this year just to rehab with no guarantees for 2017.

      • I understand the concern for his personal financial well being, but working two jobs and 60 hours a week for 10-11 dollars an hour and less than 30 grand a year, I’m sure he’ll be fine in that regard. In terms of personal matters I’m far more concerned he comes back healthy after surgery and can continue to earn a living in the future doing what he has put countless years of work towards already.

      • John,
        Thanks for taking the time to provide all the great info. My thought when I read the article was that some sort of 2 year deal was already tentatively agreed to – and that releasing him was the first step. Do you know if this sort of thing happen. Do guys like Sadler have agents or lawyers helping them through this stuff or are they on their own?

        • I’ve seen two-year deals signed in the minors, which almost always happens for someone who will miss most or all of the first year. It’s so a team gets a player they want, but also gets a guarantee that he plays for them.

          Last year, Kyle McPherson signed a two-year minor league deal in mid-May and didn’t pitch until six weeks later, starting with a rehab appearance in the GCL that was just one inning long. The Rays knew he wasn’t going to be MLB ready in 2015, but wanted a shot to have him in 2016 if he fully recovered.

          You don’t see two-year deals often in the minors because you need a specific situation to come up. Someone good enough to keep around after a major injury, but not good enough for an MLB deal, while also being too good to wait on that you’re worried another team might sign him. He has to be one year away from minor league free agency as well.

          Sadler fits that mold, but he may also have to pitch for teams in October-November to show he’s healthy, then sign the best deal out there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pirates bring him back, but as someone mentioned, there is going to be a lot of young pitching leaping over him this year so he personally may want to look elsewhere for a better shot.

  5. Seeing where he ranks on the depth chart, IF he recovers from TJ, it may actually be in his best interest to explore signing with another team. If the Pirates would be willing to give him a 2 year minor league deal, I would think there are quite a few other teams that would as well, and he would be much higher on their organization depth chart.

    • Much would depend on where his stuff is at after he recovers. Most teams would wait until after he fully recovers+enough time to see him throw and gauge where he’s at.

      Id guess PGH would see him as a relief option going forward if he does sign a deal. Which, for Sadler, may be better than no team taking a flier on him at all since back end SP after TJ surgery isnt a highly sought after commodity.

    • From a fan perspective Tommy John surgery seems like a year-long setback but theres no real evidence or expectation that any organization will invest in a pitcher while going through that rehab. I seriously doubt any other team signs him before he starts throwing again.

      • He was sent to AAA, so the extra pay they gave him last year was about 15x more than he would have made sitting on the AAA DL all year this year. As I mentioned though, this could just be a precursor to another move so he is around after 2016.

    • Any player with one day of service time in the majors is covered with lifetime healthcare. The Pirates actually gave Sadler a nice little bonus last year by adding him to the active roster in September, then putting him on the 60-day DL to open up a roster spot. He ended up with five extra weeks MLB pay which is just over 100K

      • This is a really cool thing to do for a “cheap organization” – thanks for pointing this out, John. I had the same questions about trying to rehab and train while unemployed. The bonus (of sorts) given will be a nice cushion if he doesn’t get picked up right away.

        • The Pirates are a very fair employer and sometimes to a fault. They are not a “cheap organization”, but instead I would think more of them as a frugal organization.

          • I don’t even think they’re necessarily frugal. A better word is smart. It was smart to build the best Academy in DR. It was smart to invest heavily in amateur draft and International market before MLB changed rules. Just as its smart to throw a player a bone to demonstrate how they treat their players.

          • Probably a surprise to some – but I agree frugal is more appropriate than cheap – I also think the Bucs are very pragmatic and have adopted a strategy that is designed to get the most out of the talent and budget they have to work with. They have done a great job – and gotten lucky and the result has been a team that generates enough excitement to get fans into the stadium into September.

            My problem has been that this strategy has a very low probability of getting them to the World Series – not zero chance – just a very low one.

            Taking the next step requires spending more – and taking some risks. Up to this point they have chosen to try and get by without spending at the same level as the Cubs and Cards – and hope for a miracle.

            • They literally cant spend at CHC levels and dont have the TV deal to compete with STL dollar for dollar, so that expectation shouldnt be seen as reasonable.

              One arguing they can/should spend more is different than spend as much as STL or CHC.

              • I think St Louis is the 21st largest TV Market, and Pittsburgh is 23rd. StL’s present TV contract expires after 2017, and they have already signed a $1 Bil contract with Fox Midwest for 15 years that will begin in 2018. The Pirates TV deal with Root Sports (DirecTV) expires after the 2019 season. If they can keep pace with StL on the TV Deal, they can compete.

      • Paying it Forward and making sure he has the knowledge that the Pirates still think very highly of him. Thanks for the info.

        • Even Wilfredo Boscan got it since he spent his one day on the active roster(he spent more than one, but you just need one)

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