The Los Angeles Dodgers declined their club option on Jimmy Nelson for the 2021 season, removing the right-hander from the 40-man roster and making him a free agent. Nelson’s buyout reportedly was worth $500,000, and he was due to earn a $2 million salary had he remained part of the team.
The Dodgers signed Nelson in January with the notion he would compete for the fifth and final spot in the Opening Day rotation. He was coming off an injury-ridden 2019 season with the Milwaukee Brewers that didn’t begin until June, appearing in just 10 games while making three starts.
Nelson had previously missed all of 2018 due to a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Prior to that, the right-hander had averaged 30 starts and 177 innings pitched per year from 2015-17.
His tenure with the Dodgers never quite got going, as Nelson was limited during Spring Training workouts and didn’t appear in a Cactus League game. He was then shut down at the end of February after suffering a setback following a bullpen session.
Nelson began to make some progress but was left off the Opening Day roster. In June, the Dodgers announced he was undergoing season-ending back surgery. “It’s good to know we got some clarity in that sense and some direction,” manager Dave Roberts said at the time.
“It’s something that’s been lingering for quite some time and kept him out of Spring Training. Unfortunately, it’s going to take him out of this season. We expect a full recovery going forward. We just couldn’t get him untracked as far as physically. There were days he felt well but then the back, the arm, kept popping up.
“We just couldn’t get any traction with him. I know he was frustrated throughout the spring. After quarantining and giving some time off, it just never really came around.”
One month later he was transferred to the 45-day injured list as a corresponding move to the Dodgers signing Jake McGee.
Dodgers free agents
With Nelson now in the fold, the crop of Dodgers free agents also includes Pedro Baez, Kiké Hernandez, McGee, Joc Pederson, Blake Treinen, Justin Turner and Alex Wood.
Their 40-man roster is down to 32 players, which will be a factor in adding those eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.
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