Dodgers News: Jimmy Nelson Contract Includes Club Option, Incentives For Games & Innings Pitched
Former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers officially announced the signing of Jimmy Nelson last week, adding yet another intriguing arm to the pitching staff. It marks the organization’s second MLB free agent addition of the offseason, having previously inked Blake Treinen to a one-year contract.

Nelson is 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. He went 0-2 with a 6.95 ERA, 5.80 FIP and 1.91 WHIP across 22 innings of work.

Nelson 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.

Nelson’s one-year contract with the Dodgers includes a plethora of incentives and a club option for the 2021 season, via The Associated Press:

Nelson has a $750,000 salary this year, and the Dodgers have a $2 million option for 2021 with a $500,000 buyout.

If he pitches 40 games or 60 innings this season, the option would become a $5 million mutual option. The option price would escalate to $6 million for 110 innings, $7 million for 130 innings, $8 million for 150 innings and $9 million for 170 innings.

The deal includes $2 million in roster bonuses for 2020: $1 million for making the opening-day roster and $500,000 each for 45 days and 90 days active. There are performance bonuses this year of of $250,000 each for 90, 110, 130, 150, 170 and 190 innings.

Primarily a starter during his six years with the Brewers, Nelson has never made more than 32 appearances in a single season. He last reached the 60-inning threshold in 2017, which not only marks his last full year on the mound, but his finest showing at the Major League level.

Nelson compiled a 12-6 record, 3.49 ERA, 3.05 FIP and 1.25 WHIP in 175.1 innings pitched, notching a career-high 199 strikeouts against 48 walks. He finished ninth in National League Cy Young Award voting that season and accumulated a personal-best 3.2 WAR (Baseball-Reference).

Finally healthy again, the Dodgers will give Nelson an opportunity to compete for the fifth spot in the starting rotation in Spring Training. A potential role in the bullpen is viewed as a fallback option should he lose out to one of Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May or Ross Striping.

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