Right-handed relief pitcher Jimmy Nelson will be back with the Dodgers for his fourth season after he and the team agreed to a one-year, $1.2 million contract with ~$3 million in potential bonuses.
Well, when I say fourth year, that’s just technically true. Nelson missed all of 2020 with back surgery, but got back on track in a breakout 2021 as a reliever, posting an outstanding 1.86 ERA/1.89 FIP in 29 innings with a 38% strikeout rate and 11% walk rate that was foretold on this site. Unfortunately, the injury bug bit him again that year and he had Tommy John surgery in August.
Still, his upside was enough for the Dodgers to sign him for 2022 even though he’d be out injured. He had a $1.1 million option with performance bonuses for this year, but the Dodgers declined that and instead signed him to a virtually identical deal months later. Not sure what the performance bonuses were prior to this new deal, but he earned an extra $100k in guaranteed money just by waiting the Dodgers out a bit.
Obviously his health is a gigantic, five-trillion volt, neon white warning sign, but there’s minimal investment here for a guy who has elite reliever upside if he gets right, so this makes a lot of sense for a team that’s counting on a handful of guys to emerge out of the pen as the season goes along.