Dodgers: 3 non-roster invitees who could make 2021 roster

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: Brandon Morrow
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: Brandon Morrow /
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Jimmy Nelson #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

2. Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson has yet to have a true second chance to provide an encore performance to his 2017 ninth-place finish in the Cy Young race.

A complete shoulder reconstruction at the end of that season was followed by a lengthy rehab process, 10 underwhelming outings in 2019, and lumbar surgery that knocked out his first campaign in Los Angeles following a DFA. It’s been the opposite of smooth sailing for the fiery righty with the devastating breaker.

Could Jimmy Nelson impress enough to make the Dodgers?

It’s going to take a lot for Nelson to sell himself as a viable option for Los Angeles, but if he comes out firing this spring and the hole the Dodgers need to fill is in the middle innings (e.g. Gonsolin or May goes down), then he’ll be close to the front of the line.

Admittedly, I’m grasping at straws here, but at the very least, they’re nice straws!

This team will certainly ease Nelson along, and in an environment overflowing with viable pitching alternatives who are still on the open market, Los Angeles should have no trouble sneaking Nelson onto the Triple-A Oklahoma City roster if need be.

But, if after all the challenges that have been thrown at him for four consecutive years, don’t be surprised if Nelson gets a chance to fill a gap early, presuming he seems to be recovered.