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.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.