The Cincinnati Reds have acquired right handed pitcher Zach Neal and first baseman Ibandel Isabel from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade for right handed reliever Ariel Hernandez. The Reds had designated Hernandez for assignment on Friday to create room on the roster for Dylan Floro.

Zach Neal was drafted by the Florida Marlins, yes, the Florida Marlins, back in 2010 out of the University of Oklahoma. The now 29-year-old has pitched in the Major Leagues in each of the last three seasons. Only in 2016 was it more than just a short call up, though. He’s thrown just 15.2 innings between the 2017 and 2018 Major League seasons.

For his Major League career, Zach Neal has posted a 4.94 ERA in 85.2 innings with seven walks and 37 strikeouts. In the Minor Leagues, he’s been a bit better than that. He’s split time in the last few seasons between the bullpen and rotation, but a large part of his career has been as a starter. In 933.1 innings in the minors he has a 3.84 ERA with 178 walks and 600 strikeouts.

Zach Neal doesn’t walk guys. He’s also not a guy who is going to miss bats. For his career he’s slightly leaned on the side of being a groundball pitcher, but not overly so. He will be assigned to the Triple-A Louisville Bats.

Ibandel Isabel

Ibandel Isabel could be an actual prospect of sorts. He’s not going to jump into the Top 25 of the Reds system at this point, but he’s also a 22-year-old with some pop in his bat. Last season he hit 28 home runs for Rancho Cucamonga. There are a few caveats with that, though: First is that it came in the hitters heaven that is the California League where it’s generally more concerning when a guy doesn’t hit for power than anything it says about a guy who does hit for power in the league. The second is a big one. Isabel struck out 172 times in 492 plate appearances. That’s a 35% strikeout rate.

The Dodgers have been very aggressive in promoting Ibandel Isabel at times in his career. He jumped from a month in the Midwest League to the California League, and that may have been a little bit too aggressive. The Reds, at least initially, are going to send him to Daytona. How he is worked into the lineup will be interesting as the Reds have Bruce Yari at first base for the Tortugas right now. Perhaps they will share some of the designated hitter duties. We’ll have to wait and see.

22 Responses

  1. Kap

    Have a feeling this trade will backfire big time. Hernandez could be a stud if he can found out how to throw strikes

    • MuddyCleats

      Yeah, hard 2 see upside in this deal? Did Lucy just pull football away fm Charlie Brown?

  2. AirborneJayJay

    Chris Welsh said Isabel was going to Dayton. Only one letter off for him. Or it might mean you can get some eye balls on him early on at Dayton.
    Hate to lose Hernandez. If they turn him around like they got Cingrani going straight, they may have stolen one.

    • Doug Gray

      He had it correct. The initial release was that he was heading to Dayton. The Reds corrected it about 15 minutes later – he is heading to Daytona.

      • AirborneJayJay

        Thanks. Welsh described him as a big dude, about 6’4″ and 225.

  3. Alex Reds

    What a joke! Giveaway by the Reds for no obvious reason. Let’s just hope Ariel doesn’t pan out… this year. There was no benefit to DFA him in the first place. Once you DFA him, his trade value wasn’t going to be much.
    A smart GM trades Iglesias this summer while his value is high and his control is still long enough to justify the return. With Garrett being misused if he doesn’t go back to starting this year; Ariel was the guy in the system who had stuff that rivals most elite relief pitchers; and he was just about ready to break through into the majors this year. Shoot, all the Reds had to do was give him an opportunity this year in the majors to see if he could put it all together. He wasn’t likely to get bombed and would be fun to watch. The Reds should be using this year to develop their future, as they aren’t going anywhere. If Ariel puts it together, you’ve now got your closer or a strong trade asset with full years of control left.
    The only possible explanation would be some kind of bad character, incident, or attitude reason. This would be a good question for Dick Williams. We saw how that worked out with Chapman when the Reds didn’t have any patience.
    They didn’t even give Ariel a chance this year, and they didn’t need a 40 man spot because Floro shouldn’t have justified getting a spot as he’s a downgrade from Ariel with no upside. Ariel’s been perfect and not given up a single walk or a run in 3 outings so far. Why not give him a shot, or wait just a little longer to see if he’s improved this year? The Reds have nothing to gain in this move, so hopefully nothing was lost too.

    • Clay McNeff

      While I was hopeful as well that Hernandez would take the next step, I think you’re focusing a little too much on the best case scenario, and most unlikely scenario here. Hernandez has been a professional for 9 years and has yet to have success in AAA, much less the majors. He hasn’t been able to carve out a spot on one of the worst bullpens this 150 year old sport has ever seen. Im not saying he can’t put it together, but you saying he has a chance at being this team’s next closer is about as overly wishful as either of the two guys we got in return serving as productive major leaguers. This seems like an “overvaluing your own prospects” take.

  4. Rob

    Dodgers like the Reds Relief Pitchers. It will be interesting to see if they can do anything with Hernandez…

    • RedsinWashSt

      I know most of you think the DW sits in his office making all these decisions on his own. But the team has coaches, scouts and some ex-managers (special advisers) who give input on these things. Also while the minor league teams look good especially in lower levels the one thing they seem to lack is power. This may have been a way to add some while giving up on someone they did not think was going to pan out.

  5. Simon cowell

    The Reds are for the most part an extended farm system for other mob teams

    • MuddyCleats

      Dittos, which is why it makes little sense 2 worry about service time IF a guy is ready 4 Show

  6. Colt Holt

    The sky is falling tone and unilateral hatred for management is really getting tiring. Sure, this could backfire, but it likely won’t. Let’s not forget he was the result of minor league rule five. Give the guys some credit.

  7. Daryl

    They could’ve claimed him on waivers and we get nothing. However the Dodgers must’ve been worried that someone else before them would claim him. Therefore this is a good deal. Period.

  8. WillieG

    The thing about Isabel is that even though he’s a one tool player, that tool is an 80. Rare power is worth taking a chance on.

  9. Billy

    I don’t get the hate on this one either guys. Hernandez has an arm, but he’d seem to have fallen out of favor considering he didn’t even begin the year in Louisville. Plus, he’s a relief pitcher. Dime a dozen. We’ll find someone else to throw the ball really hard. It will be OK.

  10. Michael Smith

    If he ever gets a semblance of control he will be great. Up to this poni he has not come close

  11. Michael B. Green

    I hope Hernandez figures it out and makes it. His stint in CIN at the MLB level proves one valuable point: If you fall behind the count, you will get hit hard regardless of how good the fastball.

    He has one of the best FB/CB combos I have ever seen and I hope LAD helps him blossom.

  12. Krozley

    Reminds me of the Josh Ravin situation a few years back. Big stuff. Couldn’t throw strikes. The Reds gave up on him. The Dodgers picked him up and he eventually made it to the big leagues. He’s now 30 and has a -.02 WAR for his career. So he ended up being a replaceable player and his loss was inconsequential.

    At least they got something for AH. Neal provides depth and Isabel seems as much of a wild card as Hernandez.

  13. Jim Delaney

    My only issue with this move is wondering if the REDS have decided they want to emphasize strike throwers instead of stuff throwers as an overall concept with this trade. Adding Neal to a Dylan Floro can provide minor leaguers two pitchers who can be successful by pounding the strike zone instead of lighting up the RADAR gun. Not many teams are going this route as hard throwers are a plenty around baseball. Also, makes me wonder again why drop Gallardo after only 3 games if you are looking to stock pile strike throwers. Curious if this is a new direction or just taking the best offer they can receive for a DFA player…