One thing that Los Angeles Dodgers fans have come to learn since Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi took over the front office is that they value depth, particularly within the pitching staff.
While they haven’t made any big acquisitions this offseason, the Dodgers have completed smaller moves to add to their pitching staff, signing right-hander Tom Koehler to a one-year deal, claiming a once-promising prospect in left-hander Henry Owens and recently acquiring right-hander Dylan Baker in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles.
Los Angeles also shored up their bullpen by acquiring southpaw Scott Alexander from the Kansas City Royals in a three-team trade that sent Trevor Oaks to Kansas City and Luis Avilan to the Chicago White Sox.
On Saturday, the Dodgers made another move to add to their organizational depth, as according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, they signed former Oakland Athletics right-hander Zach Neal to a Minor League contract:
RHP Zach Neal agrees to minor-league deal with #Dodgers, per source. Sinkerballer spent parts of past two seasons with #Athletics; LAD GM Farhan Zaidi knew him from OAK. Neal in majors: 84.1 IP, 37Ks, 7 BB, 4.89 ERA. Minors: 923 IP, 3.84 ERA.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 6, 2018
Neal was a 17th-round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2010 out of the University of Oklahoma. He made his Major League debut 2016 with Oakland.
Neal appeared in 24 games for the Athletics in 2016, starting six of them and going 2-4 with a 4.24 ERA, 4.35 FIP and 1.11 WHIP while striking out 27 and walking six in 70 innings of work.
The sinkerballer pitched just 14.2 big league innings last season, yielding a 7.98 ERA. In 21 games (16 starts) with Triple-A Nashville, he went 4-8 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.
Neal has been both a starter and a reliever in his career, so he provides versatility, which the Dodgers front office also values. Whether or not he contributes at the Major League level remains to be seen, but he will get an opportunity to show what he can do this spring.