David Stearns and the Milwaukee Brewers decided they couldn’t wait to figure out if Jimmy Nelson had anything left after working his way back from shoulder surgery and elbow problems, non-tendering him to bring an end to what was once a promising Brewers career.
It looks like another contender — in fact, THE contender in the National League over the last few years — is willing to take that chance.
Nelson is reportedly signing a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers with a vesting option for a second year, according to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times.
The deal, per source, can reach over $13 million over two seasons. Nelson, 30, missed the entire 2018 season with a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder. He dealt with elbow trouble last season and pitched in just 10 games. The Brewers non-tendered him in December.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) January 7, 2020
Nelson worked tirelessly to make it back to the major leagues after what could have been a career-ending injury, but something still seemed off once he did in the middle of the season. While he showed he still had strikeout stuff, he struggled mightily with his control, and ended up with a 6.95 ERA/5.80 FIP in 22 innings over 10 appearances.
He was bothered by fluid buildup in his elbow, but did end the year on a high note, with three straight scoreless appearances to end September, including a perfect 2 innings in Colorado that saw him strike out 4 Rockies.
There’s no word yet on how the Dodgers will use Nelson, but he could still be a good flier as a relief option if they don’t think he could hold up as a starter.
The Brewers likely could have used him in a similar role, but his lack of remaining minor league options and his ability to refuse assignment to the minors — as was implied he did when he was struggling shortly after his re-debut — is ultimately what led to his non-tender.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs