The Reds and Dodgers have announced a swap that will send starter Zach Neal and first baseman Ibandel Isabel to Cincinnati. In return, the Los Angeles organization acquires recently designated reliever Ariel Hernandez.
Neal had already cleared waivers after being designated in the first week of April, so he won’t require a 40-man spot. He briefly appeared with the Dodgers after signing a minors deal in the offseason. Neal carries a 4.94 ERA with just 3.9 K/9 and 0.7 BB/9 in his 85 2/3 total MLB innings. The 29-year-old will presumably represent a depth option for the Cincinnati staff.
The Reds also pick up Isabel, a 22-year-old who has yet to move past the High-A level. He has produced some solid numbers in the low minors, though, including a .259/.327/.489 slash with 28 home runs over 492 plate appearances last year at Rancho Cucamonga. That showing did come with a rather unhealthy tally of 172 strikeouts, and the Dodgers obviously did not see cause to move him up the chain since he was back at the same level to open the 2018 season.
It’s certainly arguable that Hernandez is the most interesting player involved in this swap. He has huge stuff but hasn’t yet shown he can harness it at the game’s highest level. The Dodgers obviously are willing to place a bet that they can straighten him out. Hernandez worked to a 5.18 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 22 walks in 24 1/3 MLB innings in 2017.