Dodgers Free Agency News: Zach Neal Signs With Seibu Lions In Japan
Zach Neal, Dodgers
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Always in search of pitching depth, the Los Angeles Dodgers inked right-hander Zach Neal to a Minor League contract last offseason. Coming off a two-year stint with the Oakland Athletics, he was extended an invitation to Spring Training and competed for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Neal was called up to the Majors on April 3, taking the spot of Josh Fields when he was placed on the paternity list. The then-29-year-old made his lone appearance with the club on the day of his promotion, yielding two hits and one run in mop-up duty against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 2018 season was a revolving door from that point on for Neal, who later found his way to the Cincinnati Reds before making it back to Los Angeles for a second stint. He saw the bulk of his work in Triple-A, where he split time with both the Dodgers and Reds’ affiliates.

Neal elected free agency at season’s end and has already found a new home for the 2019 season. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Neal has signed a contract with the Seibu Lions in Japan:

The Lions made a similar depth signing last winter with the addition of former Dodgers right-hander Fabio Castillo, who wound up appearing in 20 games for them this past season.

For Neal, he will have an opportunity to reestablish his value overseas and perhaps attempt a Major League comeback in the near future. He also bolsters a Lions’ pitching staff that is set to lose their ace, Yusei Kikuchi.

Seibu officially announced they will post Kikuchi to all 30 MLB teams on Monday, Dec. 3. In preparation of the move, he hired Scott Boras to represent him in contract negotiations.