What Are the Possibilities for Jimmy Nelson?

When it eventually comes time for the management crew and coaching staff of the Dodgers to select the team’s roster for Opening Day, they may be dealing with a few difficult decisions.

In Tuesday’s column, besides discussing the current mindset of lefty starter Clayton Kershaw, we stated that up to nine different pitchers might be considered for the Los Angeles starting rotation, which will presumably create an overflow of arms that could be relegated to the bullpen.

The right arm of 30-year-old Jimmy Nelson might be one of them.

Recently, front-office boss Andrew Friedman went on record saying that Nelson may conceivably be a Brandon Morrow-type of reliever, drawing a few chuckles from the fan base in the process.

Nevertheless, it isn’t as funny as it sounds, as both players have had several similarities over the course of their respective pedigrees.

Morrow missed 18 months with a shredded shoulder before the Dodgers took a chance on him prior to the beginning of the 2017 season, nursing him back to life as a reliever. Before his injury, Morrow registered five consecutive years with 10 or more starts from 2009-2013 with both the Mariners and Blue Jays. He was a double-digit winner in three consecutive seasons as a starter for Toronto from 2010-12. Of his 334 career appearances, 113 were starts.

Similarly, 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. Lifetime, Nelson has made 119 appearances with 107 starts—almost the same number of starts as Morrow before he was converted to a reliever.

Morrow has the ability to throw from a vast selection of pitches, always being known to tinker with different styles and release points. His fastball sits at 94-96 MPH, while occasionally topping out at 98 MPH on the gun.

Nelson also has a decent mix in his own repertoire—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. Those velocities could theoretically increase if he’s limited to much shorter outings in the bullpen.

The similarities between the two are certainly there.

Regardless, all the comparisons and projections in the world won’t help Nelson if he’s unable to stay healthy. That might be the primary reason the Dodgers boosted his contract with incentives.

As far as Nelson’s contract goes, he will earn a base salary of $1.25 million this year with a chance to increase that payout to $3 million, mainly based on the number of days on the team’s active roster—not starts. He also has a mutual option for next year. 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.

Indeed, the opportunity is there for him to resurrect his career.

Nelson has no minor league options remaining on his contract, so as long as he’s healthy and still part of the team, he’ll be among those included on the Opening Day roster.


Dodgers Finally Set 40-Man Roster After Latest Trade Flurry

(Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

For a few quick moments, it looked like the 40-man roster of the Dodgers was stuck at the magical number of 42, despite MLB rules not allowing such a scenario.

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Thoughts on the Betts Trade & The Pederson Deal That Didn’t Happen

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
(Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

As the dust settles from what felt like a month-long saga that ends with the Dodgers trading for Mookie Betts and David Price, we can maybe, finally, take stock of what has happened in the world of Dodger baseball.

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Mookie Betts Deal Reportedly Finalized

(Boston Globe photo)

“In the history of the Dodgers, nothing ever comes easy” ~Vin Scully

After almost an entire week of controversy, the Dodgers and Red Sox have reportedly agreed to a trade that will see both outfielder Mookie Betts and lefty starting pitcher David Price end up in Los Angeles. In return, the Red Sox will receive outfielder Alex Verdugo, catching prospect Connor Wong and infield prospect Jeter Downs.

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Uncertainty Still Lingering Around Mookie Betts Deal

(Boston Globe photo)

While some fans believed they would see both Mookie Betts and David Price land in Los Angeles much sooner, there is some uncertainty lingering around the completion of baseball’s biggest deal this winter, as the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins are still working to find a common resolution.

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How Latest Trade Flurry Affects Dynamics of Dodgers’ 26-Man Roster

(Photo Credit: Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

While none of the participating teams have yet to officially announce the details of their impending deals, it’s certainly safe to say that front office boss Andrew Friedman will have shaken up the roster of the Dodgers once all the formalities are signed and sealed.

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Dodgers Reportedly Complete Blockbuster Deal for Mookie Betts, David Price


After almost an entire winter of rumors building momentum, the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins have reportedly agreed to a three-team trade that will see both outfielder Mookie Betts and lefty starting pitcher David Price end up in Los Angeles.

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A Few Ideas How Dodgers Might Use Dustin May in 2020

(Photo Credit: Casey Gower)

Aside from all the opinions about the sign-stealing scandals, there were a few interesting bits of information that came out of Fan Fest this year, specifically one clue on how the Dodgers might use young right-hander Dustin May, at least towards the beginning of the season.

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A Few Notable Notes on Dodgers’ 2020 Spring Training NRI List

Jordan Sheffield - Los Angeles Dodgers 2017 spring training (Bill Mitchell)
(Baseball Prospectus photo)

If you happened to miss the news on Thursday afternoon, the Dodgers announced their list of 21 non-roster players who were invited to the big league side of spring training, which happened to be the exact number of NRIs the team welcomed to camp in 2019.

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What Should Dodgers Expect from Clayton Kershaw in 2020?


There’s probably no other player on the Dodgers‘ active roster scrutinized more than lefty starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. When he was at the peak of his game just a few years ago, many folks rivaled his success with the legendary Sandy Koufax; but now that he is on the backside of his impressive career, there are actually some fans who feel he’s not even worthy of a rotation slot.

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