Sadler found Seattle first: 'It's surreal'

September 17th, 2020

Call it foresight, fate or just plain good fortune, but new reliever found a home in Seattle even before the Mariners claimed him off waivers on Sept. 5. And so far, the connection has been uncanny.

Sadler is an Oklahoma native who has lived in Florida for most of his professional baseball life since he was drafted by Pittsburgh in 2010. He trained there with the Pirates and then the Rays after signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay in ‘19.

But when the 30-year-old was traded to the Dodgers midseason and then the Cubs last winter, he and his wife decided it was time for a change of scenery and began looking for a house in Seattle, where his sister-in-law lives.

Those plans accelerated when the Cubs -- and the rest of Major League Baseball -- were shut down by the pandemic in March. After staying for a while near the Cubs’ Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz., the Sadlers saw the perfect house in the Snoqualmie Valley area -- about 30 miles east of Seattle -- and decided to make the move in May during quarantine.

What they had no way of knowing was that Sadler would wind up struggling for the Cubs once baseball resumed, be designated for assignment on Sept. 1 and then claimed off waivers by the Mariners four days later. So instead of scrambling to locate in a new city, the Sadlers merely moved home.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to pack up an apartment and travel across the country and all that in the middle of a season,” Sadler said. “It’s been a crazy ride and, I don’t know, I can’t explain how it felt when we got that call. It was just amazing.”

The baseball results have been nearly as perfect. In his first three appearances for the Mariners, Sadler has retired 15 of 17 batters with eight strikeouts while throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings, and he's been been a steadying force in Seattle’s young bullpen.

After posting a 2.14 ERA in 33 appearances for the Rays and Dodgers last year, Sadler struggled to a 5.79 ERA in 10 outings with the Cubs. But he clearly has found his groove again with the Mariners.

“Going through that whole DFA process kind of gives you time to think and be like, ‘OK, where do I go from here? Where do I need to get back to?’” he said. “I really just focused on what I accomplished last year, and the mentality and mindset, and just tried to tap back into that. It seems to have found its way back, so I’m very excited about that.”

Sadler says there is comfort in living in your own home instead of a rental apartment during the season, and he’s enjoying that, particularly in a year of such uncertainty everywhere else. As for the odds of choosing a place to live before being picked up by the team that plays in that city?

“It’s surreal,” Sadler said. “I think when we purchased, we always from that point were like, ‘Man, it would be really cool to play here. What an opportunity that would be.’ Baseball, you just never know. Things can go unexpectedly good or bad. Thankfully, the Lord blessed us and we’re able to stay at home and play for our hometown team now. So it’s pretty cool. Pretty special.”

News and notes
• The Mariners announced the acquisition of Minor League right-hander Matt Brash from the Padres as the player to be named later in the Aug. 31 trade for reliever Taylor Williams. Brash, 22, was a fourth-round Draft pick out of Niagara University in 2019 and pitched five games in the Rookie-level Arizona League and Class A ball last season, posting a 1.69 ERA with eight strikeouts and no walks in 5 1/3 innings.

• Right-hander has cleared waivers and been outrighted to the Mariners’ alternate training site. The 28-year-old was designated for assignment on Tuesday to open a 40-man roster spot after making two appearances for Seattle with a 3.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings.