1. Jimmy Nelson
Forget about this guy?! Friedman continued his trend of signing injured pitchers, having them rehab with the team, and ensuring they’d stay for the following year. Really, a shrewd way to pay a little to potentially get a lot more.
Nelson underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2021, and not long after the Dodgers re-signed him to a one year, $700K deal with a $1.1 million team option for the 2023 season.
Nelson, like Duffy, will be entering his age-34 season and has only pitched in a grand total of 67 games since the start of 2017. However, he was a reliable and valuable bullpen piece for the Dodgers in 2021. He appeared in 28 games (29 innings) and finished with a 1.86 ERA, 1.89 FIP, 0.93 WHIP and 44 strikeouts.
The Dodgers had him emphasize his curveball, which worked wonders. The right-hander finished that year in the 99th percentile for fastball since and the 94th percentile for curveball spin. Opponents had a .139 expected batting average and .198 expected slugging percentage against him.
Reconstructive elbow surgery this late in the game is tough — on top of the fact Nelson is no stranger to injuries derailing his career — but he could potentially save the Dodgers a ton of money if he’s even a semblance of his 2021 self at just $1.1 million.
Really feels like we’ll see Alberto and Nelson back, since that’ll be two players costing a grand total of $3.1 million. Not going to find much better value than that.