Neal agreed to a contract Thursday with the Saitama Seibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific League, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Neal has made 31 appearances in the big leagues across the last three seasons but spent the majority of the 2018 campaign at the Triple-A level, submitting a 4.63 ERA between stints in the Dodgers and Reds organizations. The 30-year-old likely would have had to settle for a minor-league deal if he wanted to continue his career in North America, so he'll instead head overseas with the promise of a more lucrative payday.
Neal was traded from the Reds to the Dodgers on Wednesday along with reliever Dylan Floro and international signing bonus pool space in exchange for minor-league pitchers James Marinan and Aneurys Zabala. The Dodgers will get Neal back from the Reds after previously trading him to Cincinnati in April, but he's probably the least desirable of the three commodities Los Angeles received in Wednesday's deal. The 29-year-old owns a 4.94 ERA over 31 career appearances in the big leagues and has been even worse across 49.1 innings at the Triple-A level in 2018, posting a 5.47 ERA and 1.36 WHIP while notching just 29 strikeouts.
The Dodgers traded Neal to the Reds on Tuesday, John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Neal cleared waivers after the Dodgers designated him for assignment earlier this month, and now he joins the Reds' organization in a trade for Ariel Hernandez. The 29-year-old is likely headed to Triple-A Louisville but could see the majors at some point with Cincinnati currently featuring the worst team ERA (5.78) in Major League Baseball.
Neal cleared waivers Sunday and was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA.com reports. The 29-year-old made just one appearance with the Dodgers before being designated for assignment, tossing one inning and allowing a solo home run. Now that he's off the 40-man roster, he's unlikely to be at the top of the queue to return to the big leagues, and even if he does return, his career 4.94 ERA in 85.2 big-league innings doesn't make him much of a fantasy asset.
Neal had his contract purchased from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Neal will provide a fresh arm out of the Dodgers' bullpen after the team used all eight of their relievers during Monday's 15-inning affair. The 29-year-old is being stretched out as a starter in the minors, so he should be able to go multiple innings if needed. In order to clear room on the 40-man roster, Jesus Liranzo was designated for assignment.
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