The Cincinnati Reds threw us a curveball this past weekend when they announced that RHP Ariel Hernandez had been designated for assignment in order to free up a roster spot for RHP Dylan Floro. Hernandez, of course, has a breaking ball that makes hitters look as dumbfounded as we were at the curve the Reds threw us, paired with a fastball than hits 100 mph repeatedly.
Well, it turns out the Reds have struck a deal to trade Hernandez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, as they announced earlier on Tuesday.
The #Reds have acquired from the Dodgers minor leaguers RHP Zach Neal and 1B Ibandel Isabel in exchange for RHP Ariel Hernández, who on Friday was designated for assignment. Neal will be sent to the Triple-A @LouisvilleBats and Isabel to Class A @DragonsBaseball. pic.twitter.com/Msbq7Nfi5A— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 18, 2018
Zach Neal is 29 years old with 85.2 innings of big league experience under his belt, having spent time with both the Oakland Athletics and the Dodgers. He owns a 4.94 ERA in those innings, with a unremarkable 3.9 K/9 in that stint, which goes along pretty well with the 5.8 K/9 that he’s posted in over 933 career MiLB innings.
Ibandel Isabel, on the other hand, is a 23 year old who’s currently repeating A+ at Rancho Cucamonga, and is fresh off a season where he struck out 172 times in 122 games while banging 28 dingers in the notoriously offense-friendly Cal League.
Those two paragraphs might sound a bit salty on these two prospects, and that was completely on purpose. Ariel Hernandez, while often missing his spots by distances that can be measured in yards, is still the kind of talented arm that you just don’t ever want to see a team give up on. There’s a reason why the gang at FanGraphs fell instantly in love with his potential this time just last year, and the fact that he’s now going to the Dodgers - who magically managed to turn Tony Cingrani into an effective reliever after he struggled with command as a Red - makes me incredibly weary that we’ll see this story play out again in a way that’ll drive us all to the bottle.