Dodgers Free Agency Rumors: Jimmy Nelson Signed To 1-Year Contract With Vesting Option
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson against the St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers went into the offseason on the heels of a disappointing loss in the playoffs but resolved not to have a knee-jerk reaction. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman nonetheless said the team would target elite players for their roster.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts forecasted more turnover this winter than in years past, and he reasoned changes could be positive for a team that’s enjoyed a wealth of regular season success but has yet to end the franchise’s World Series drought.

The Dodgers aggressively pursued Gerrit Cole, who wound up with the New York Yankees, and despite reported interest, never appeared to be much of a likely landing spot for Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.

More recently, Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, and Rich Hill joined the Minnesota Twins. That created more of a pressing need in the starting rotation, which the Dodgers have addressed by signing Jimmy Nelson, according to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

Nelson was non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers, making him the second pitcher (Blake Treinen) who has suffered that fate and gone on to sign with the Dodgers this winter.

Still recovering from a shoulder injury that cost him the entire 2018 season, Nelson didn’t make his debut last year until June 5 (rehab assignment in the Minors began May 3). He then suffered an elbow injury that sidelined him from late June into early September.

Nelson went 0-2 with a 6.95 ERA, 5.80 FIP and 1.91 WHIP in 10 games (three starts) for the Brewers. It was a far cry from his success in 2017, when the right-hander was 12-6 and pitched to a 3.49 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 1.25 WHIP and a 20.8% strikeout to walk ratio.

While the 30-year-old still appears to be working his way back from injuries, he could become a viable and versatile option for the Dodgers in the rotation or out of the bullpen. Nelson’s addition falls into the low-risk, high-reward signings the club has benefitted from over recent seasons.

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