Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times was among the first to reveal the news. According to the information shared by Castillo, Nelson will have every opportunity to earn a spot in the big league starting rotation right out of spring training. Should that particular scenario not work out, the Dodgers will apparently consider him to play a role as a major league reliever.
He has no option years remaining on his contract.
The deal guarantees Nelson at least $1 million.
As indicated in Castillo’s tweet, the 30-year-old native of Oregon will have a chance to earn over $3 million in 2020 if he stays healthy. Additionally, Nelson’s contract contains a vesting mutual option. If he finds a way to remain a Dodger through the 2021 season, there’s a possibility he can bring home more than $13 million across those two years.
The 6-foot-6, 250-lb. right-hander was originally selected by the Brewers out of the University of Alabama in the second round of the 2020 MLB draft. His best year as a big leaguer came in 2017 when he went 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA and 199 strikeouts over 29 starts and 179-1/3 innings of work.
One of the glaring blemishes on Nelson’s stat chart is the whopping 86 walks he issued over 179 innings in 2016. Consequently, he issued 48 walks over 175 frames in 2017 and 65 walks in 177 innings during the 2015 season.
Over the course of his six-year, major league career, he has gone 33-46 with a 4.22 ERA, a 4.11 FIP and a 1.372 WHIP. He has struck out 578 batters and allowed 240 walks in 119 games and 633-1/3 innings of work. He has a career ERA+ of 99. His lifetime walk ratio sits at 3.41 BB/9. He has never posted an annual bWAR over 0.0.
Nelson missed the entire 2018 season after having surgery for a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder. He dealt with significant elbow issues last year, pitching in just 22 innings over 10 games, three of which were starts. The three starts came in June and the seven appearances in relief came in September. Over those 22 innings, he issued 17 walks.
To clear space on their 40-man roster, the Brewers non-tendered him in December.
As far as his repertoire goes, Nelson primarily throws four pitches—a four-seam, a sinker, a slider and a curve. Occasionally, he mixes in a variation of a change. Before his shoulder surgery in 2018, his heater mostly sat in the 94-95 MPH range. However, since his return, he has lost a few ticks, as he has lived right around 92-93 MPH.
In other news, the team signed another pitcher Tuesday afternoon in Edubray Ramos. The 27-year-old righty reliever appeared in 173 career games with the Phillies, posting a 3.71 ERA and 168 punchouts over 155-1/3 innings. His contract is a minor league deal that includes an invite to the big league side of spring training.
The moves by the Dodgers come two days after team president Stan Kasten told reporters that he expects his club to exceed MLB’s imposed Luxury Tax Threshold at some point during the upcoming season.