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Dodgers agree on 1-year deal with RHP Nelson

@AdamMcCalvy
January 7, 2020

The Dodgers have agreed to a one-year contract with right-hander Jimmy Nelson for 2020, the team announced on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source told MLB.com that it is worth $1.25 million and includes an option for 2021. Per the source, Nelson will get a

The Dodgers have agreed to a one-year contract with right-hander Jimmy Nelson for 2020, the team announced on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source told MLB.com that it is worth $1.25 million and includes an option for 2021.

Per the source, Nelson will get a $750,000 salary in 2020 and can earn up to $1.5 million in performance bonuses based on his innings total. The deal includes the following roster bonuses: $1 million if he's on the active roster on Opening Day, an additional $500,000 if he's on the active roster for 45 days and $500,000 more if he's on the active roster for 90 days.

The contract also includes a 2021 club option for $2 million ($500,000 buyout) that will convert to a $5 million mutual option ($500,000 buyout) if Nelson throws 60 innings or makes 40 appearances in '20. The mutual option can increase up to $9 million depending on Nelson's innings total in '20.

All told, Nelson can earn as much as $13 million over the next two years if he stays healthy and produces for the Dodgers. He’ll be vying for a spot in a Dodgers rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Kenta Maeda, joining a mix of candidates like Julio Urías, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Ross Stripling for one of the remaining slots.

Nelson, 30, returned to the big leagues last season after missing all of 2018 while working his way back from right shoulder surgery, the result of a fluke injury in September '17 while diving back to first base after he hit a single in a game at Wrigley Field. Nelson sustained damage to the rotator cuff, labrum and capsule in his shoulder, abruptly ending what had been a breakthrough season for the Brewers’ No. 1 starter.

After navigating the physical and mental challenges of a 21-month rehabilitation, which coincided with a difficult pregnancy for wife Melissa, Nelson made it back to the Majors last June but threw just 22 innings and posted a 6.95 ERA while yielding 17 walks.

Nelson dealt with further injury troubles along the way and made an additional 17 appearances in the Minors. Milwaukee non-tendered the righty in December, making him a free agent.

Nelson enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2017, recording a 3.49 ERA with 199 strikeouts over 175 1/3 innings. He owns a lifetime 4.22 ERA in six big league seasons.

Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.