The Los Angeles Dodgers officially announced the signing of Jimmy Nelson to a one-year contract, giving the club another option to help round out their starting rotation. Nelson’s deal reportedly includes a vesting option for 2021 as well.
The 30-year-old joins the Dodgers after spending parts of the past six seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. During that span he went a combined 33-46 with a 4.22 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 1.38 WHIP, and 578 strikeouts against 240 walks.
Nelson’s best campaign with the Brewers came in 2017, when he went 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 29 starts. That was one year after Nelson made a career-high 32 starts, though it was accompanied by personal highs with 86 walks and 17 hit by pitches in 179.1 innings pitched.
Nelson is lifetime 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in three games at Dodger Stadium. He missed the entire 2018 season due to a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and didn’t debut last year until June 5 (rehab assignment in the Minors began May 3).
then suffered an elbow injury that sidelined him from late June into early September, and Nelson finished the season on the injured list with a rotator cuff strain.
Nelson went 0-2 with a 6.95 ERA, 5.80 FIP and 1.91 WHIP across 10 games (three starts) in 2019. He was non-tendered by the Brewers on Dec. 2, and now is the second such free agent to join the Dodgers this winter.
Like with Blake Treinen, the Dodgers are banking on Nelson replicating some of his previous success. Over recent years they have witnessed such a turnaround with the likes of Joe Blanton and Brandon Morrow.
In the event Nelson is unable to stick as a starter, the Dodgers have the option of shifting him to the bullpen. As of now, L.A. projects to have Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias in the rotation.
Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Nelson and Ross Stripling are expected to compete for the fifth spot.
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