First Three off Dodgers Roster: Jimmy Nelson, RHP
Opening Day roster decisions aren't made entirely on spring performance, but if they were, Jimmy Nelson would be unequivocally off the bubble and searching for his next professional endeavor.
The Dodgers have seen the 33-year-old Nelson through one successful rehab, but two might be too big an ask. His five outings this spring have been laborious; he's only completed 2.1 innings, hasn't whiffed a batter, and holds a 5.14 WHIP. 46 batters on base per nine innings is no way to go through life.
To his credit, Dave Roberts has kindly backed his right-hander in recent weeks, reminding fans what a slow play this was always intended to be.
"We’ve all got to be mindful that this guy hasn’t pitched in almost two years. So there’s the structural part. He’s got a new arm. What was normal to him back then is not normal now. … It’s a process. So that was kind of my message to Jimmy. And every athlete wants to kind of be good right now. But just understanding that it’s coming, and it’s just gonna take some time."- Dave Roberts, to the OCR
That said, the season is nigh, and the Dodgers are running out of time. This might not be a fair fight, but it does seem to be nearly over.
First Three off Dodgers Roster: Victor González, LHP
It also seems likely that the impressive tale of Dodgers lefty Victor González, including a rapid rise into key bullpen innings during the 2020 postseason and World Series, may be ending prematurely.
Injury issues derailed González's 2021 season and left his 2022 campaign empty. Now, almost two years removed from his most recent meaningful innings, he's struggled through the spring, with a 13.50 ERA in 3.1 innings (with four strikeouts).
MLB.com's projection and most recent roster discussions don't mention González, and it feels as if he's officially on the outside looking in. "Last Three Out" might even be a bit too generous.