The Dodgers have added to their already extensive pitching depth today, signing RHP Jimmy Nelson. The seven-year veteran signed a one-year deal that includes an option, as reported on Tuesday morning.
The Dodgers and Jimmy Nelson have agreed to a deal. It’s for one year plus a vesting mutual option. He’s guaranteed to make a little over $1 million in 2020 but could make over $3 million if healthy.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) January 7, 2020
Los Angeles let two of their veteran starting pitchers walk away in free agency this winter, losing Rich Hill and Hyun-jin Ryu. Hill went to Minnesota on a short deal with the Twins, and Ryu signed his own deal with Toronto to become their ace.
Signing Nelson gives the Dodgers a chance to give their young guys a chance to shine while offering a veteran presence to the rotation if needed. The 6’6 right-hander had spent his entire career with Milwaukee but has missed most of the last two years with injuries. He could potentially see time in the bullpen in 2020.
Nelson missed most of 2019 with right elbow effusion that sidelined him late in the season. That came on the heels of a torn labrum in his throwing arm that kept him out all of the 2018 season.
As a starter, his numbers are nothing fantastic to look at. He owns a career 4.26 ERA and 1.368 WHIP in games he has started in his career. But in 12 relief appearances, he has shown quality stuff. He owns a 3.31 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9.9 per 9 innings across 16.1 innings of relief.
As of now, the Dodgers rotation could potentially consist of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias, and a few other guys. Adding Nelson gives the team even more depth with essentially no risk, as his contract is HEAVILY incentive-laden.
Nelson could potentially reach $13 million over two seasons, according to reports.