Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers have signed pitcher Jimmy Nelson to a one-year deal. He’ll make $1 million in 2020, with incentives that could triple that. There is a vesting mutual option for 2021 that is much more valuable, perhaps as much as $12-13 million. This is, obviously, a make-good deal for Nelson and a low-risk flyer for the Dodgers on a pitcher who has lost, basically, the last two seasons due to injury.
Nelson, you may recall, suffered dislocated his shoulder after diving back to first base following a single he had half a thought of turning into a double late in the 2017 season. He then underwent surgery to repair a partially torn labrum and strained rotator cuff. The rehab cost him all of 2018. He pitched in ten games last season, three as a starter, and was ineffective. He fared better before that in some minor league work. Shoulder injuries are rough.
Prior to the injury, Nelson was finishing up his best season of his career. He placed ninth among 2017 NL Cy Young Award candidates after turning in a 12-6 record in 29 starts and a 3.49 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 10.2 SO/9, and 4.8 fWAR across 175.1 innings.
If Nelson can regain part of his old form he’ll be a useful addition to the Dodgers. But like I said: shoulder injuries are rough, so it’s hard to tell what Los Angeles is getting.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.
With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.
Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.
Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.