The Dodgers signed right-handed sinkerballer Zach Neal to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Saturday. Neal elected free agency from the Athletics in October and was said to be seeking another minor league arrangement this offseason. He’s expected to receive an invitation to spring training, though the deal has yet to be officially confirmed by the club.
The 29-year-old righty has seen limited time in the majors since his debut with the A’s in 2016. He logged just 14 2/3 innings at the big league level in 2017, racking up a 7.98 ERA, 0.6 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in six relief appearances. He bounced back and forth between Oakland and Triple-A Nashville several times throughout the year and was able to produce slightly more palatable numbers at a lower level, finishing his Triple-A run with a cumulative 4.82 ERA, 0.9 BB/9 and 3.9 SO/9 in 99 innings.
Part of Neal’s appeal, Rosenthal adds, is his familiarity with current Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi, who was serving as the Athletics’ Director of Baseball Operations when the right-hander signed his first minors deal with the team in 2013. While it’s hard to see Neal carving out a full-time role in the Dodgers’ bullpen next spring, his exceptional control and prior major league experience could give him a leg up as he looks for his next big league tryout.