When the Dodgers signed Jimmy Nelson during the offseason, they knew about his health risk. That is why they structured his contract to pay him based on the number of days he spends on the active roster. And it didn’t take long for his health to become an issue when he was shutdown from Cactus League play due to back and groin soreness.
One positive from the delayed start to the 2020 season is it allows pitchers, like Nelson, extra time to rehab and perhaps start the season in a healthy condition.
After starting close to 30 games in three consecutive seasons, Nelson missed the entire 2018 season and was limited to 22 innings in 2019 due to elbow and shoulder issues. When healthy, he has the potential to be a high-strikeout starter who could easily play a role in the back of the Dodgers rotation.
The idea of expanding the number of starters in the rotation is to reduce the stress on fragile arms early in the schedule. For someone like Nelson, it would allow him ample recovery time between each start, and would also optimize his appearances, as he slowly rehabs from multiple ailments.
Imagine we live in an alternate universe and the 2020 baseball season had started on time. What would have happened in the Dodgers season already?
The Dodgers are hoping he can return to his 2017 form when he went 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA in Milwaukee. He might have a great opportunity to shine as an added starter in 2020.