The Dodgers are already incredibly depth in their starting rotation. So much so that the assumption is young arms like Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin will be pushed to the bullpen this coming season. So when Dave Roberts revealed that Jimmy Nelson was being built up as a starter this spring, it was very confusing.
Doc revealed as much after Nelson’s start on Tuesday, though he has been saying it for a few weeks now. Nelson has spent the majority of his career as a starting pitcher, making just 12 appearances in relief.
Notably, he is also not on the 40-man roster, which means the Dodgers would have t make a move to retain him.
An easy move could be the club transferring pitcher Tommy Kahnle (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day Injured List. Or perhaps a trade is on the horizon. But Nelson has earned enough service time to where he would have to be part of the Major League roster or accept a minor league assignment. Given the place that he is at in terms of his progression, it seems more likely that he would opt out of his minor league deal, which he can do within the first few weeks of the season.
If the Dodgers plan on keeping him in the big leagues, the questions then shift to Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin. Both guys have option years and would presumably be guys to get pushed off of the staff, albeit for a temporary period of time.
That would also fit the mold of what the Dodgers have been trying to do for the last few years. Keeping arms fresh and rotating young guys in and out of the rotation to give other guys time to build up.
Whatever they decide to do, the Dodgers have a TON of options to work with. Expect the veterans in their rotation to not throw more than 80 pitches for the first few months of the season.
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