Ted Lilly’s Trade Value

Starting pitching is always at a premium, especially during the mid-to-late July trade season. With Cliff Lee now off the market, Cubs' southpaw Ted Lilly takes over the title of most coveted starter available. He offers much more affordability than either Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren, both in terms of money and trade cost. 

Lilly, 34, struck out ten Phillies across seven innings today, and will go to bed tonight the proud owner of a 4.07 ERA with a 6.49 K/9 and 2.16 BB/9. He missed the first few weeks of the season with a shoulder issue that appears to have robbed him of some velocity, but otherwise he's made at least 25 starts in every season since 2003. Lilly has plenty of experience in the American League, however he hasn't faced the DH regularly since 2006.

There's approximately $5.3M left on his contract this year, and he'll head onto the free agent market after the season as a Type-A free agent barring a total collapse in the second half. In theory, the Cubs would need to receive two prospects in a trade that are equal to or greater in value than the two high draft picks they would receive next year if they let Lilly walk as a free agent.

The Mets reportedly have interest in the southpaw after losing out on Lee, as do the Rays. The Twins and Tigers have also been mentioned as possible suitors. Minnesota has highly touted (and blocked) catching prospect Wilson Ramos to deal, and Tampa has more prospects than they know what to do with, so putting a package together won't be an issue for them.

Jarrod Washburn was in a similar situation last season, and was eventually traded for two good, but certainly not great prospects in Luke French and Mauricio Robles. Lilly has a better track record and has a little bit more money left on his deal, but the Washburn deal could serve as a guide for what the Cubs should expect in return.

36 Responses to Ted Lilly’s Trade Value Leave a Reply

  1. Lilly would be a good fit for the Mets,He mostlty gets hurt on the long ball so he could be a good fit at citi field

    • oleosmirf 5 years ago

      the Mets would have 5 SP with an ERA under 4…not too shabby…

      • yeop it would be pretty good I mean its so San Fran rotation but its good

      • diehardmets 5 years ago

        Santana: 1A (2.75)
        Pelfrey: 1B (3.00)
        Neisse: 3 (3.25)
        Lilly: 3 (3.50)
        Dickey: 3 (3.00)

        Thats actually very good. Not multiple aces like SF or STL but everyone is at least a solid middle of the staff pitcher.

        • chaifetz10 5 years ago


          Santana: 1A (2.98)
          Pelfrey: 1B (3.58)
          Neisse: 3 (3.61)
          Lilly: 3 (4.08)
          Dickey: 3 (2.68)

          • diehardmets 5 years ago

            I was basing those numbers on personal projections but yeah, you get the point.

  2. Jumsy 5 years ago

    Who said the Cubs would be willing to offer arbitration to Lilly? Is he worth 80% of his current salary on a 1 year deal? You can’t guarantee those draft picks since it isn’t a lock that he would be offered Arbitration.

    • The Cubs should rebuild,hendrix is not a good gm and I do not see the Cubs goin g anywhere soon as playoffs are concerned.They can get something for both Lilly and Lee and it would lower the payroll dramatically on team.Of course thwey really cannot do anything about Soriano,and I dont really see anyone trading for Zambrano accept for a team who is “desperate” for starting pitching.They could still get two good picks for Lilly.The Reds and Cards are two teams I believe the Cubs will not contend with now and down the road

    • He wouldn’t have his salary reduced in arbitration anyway. No player ever has, and it’s not about to start with Ted Lilly.

      • Jumsy 5 years ago

        80% is the minimum he would receive through arbitration. I was just questioning if he was actually even worth the minimum of $9.6 million, let alone the actual figure he would receive through arbitration. Would the Cubs be better off spending that money on other areas instead of on Lilly?

        • bjsguess 5 years ago

          The 80% rule does not apply. The Cubs would be free to offer anything they would like. Although in practicality I doubt they would offer arbitration at all. Lilly, given his age and mediocre season is a prime candidate to accept arb. Would the Cubbies want him back on a 1/$12m type deal? I doubt it.

  3. cubs223425 5 years ago

    Before everyone takes this out of context: Minnesota will NEVER deal Ramos for Lilly.

    • that would be dumb Lilly is not even close to what Ramos is worth.Lilly is a B pitcher Lee is A+ big difference.

  4. chaifetz10 5 years ago

    IF the Cubs traded Lilly to the Twins for a package around Ramos, who would stay at catcher and who would move to another position? Could Soto or Ramos play first or third? Corner outfield spot maybe?

  5. Remeber,the point for trading for Lilly is to get a B pitcher for 2 mid prospects and maybe a player to be named later.Ramos is a easy B+ prospect in my book.And as far as the Mets are concerned they look like a good suitor for Lilly.A team who take on his 5 mill and could trade mid prospects without dumping the farm.But so are the Twins and 15 other clubs who are contending.Expect tons of teams who werent serious on Lee to get serious on Lilly,at least until or if Oswalts costs go down.

    • oleosmirf 5 years ago

      i would think a decent OF prospect like Lucas Duda or Sean Ratliff plus one of their “better” pitching prospects Familia or Holt.

      • bigpelflikesike123 5 years ago

        Sorry to inform you holt is not a good prospect… his ERA is 10. A trade of Familia Ratliff and a filler would work though and i would be very happy with that!

      • tuff_gong 5 years ago

        OF prospects have almost no value to the Cubs, who have 4 starting outfielders in the majors (including 2 untrade-able, and 2 very good) and also several good outfield prospects.

        It seems to me it would have to be infield or pitching prospects. The Cubs are especially in need of 1B prospects

  6. stewie75 5 years ago

    Lilly’s been solid, the Cubs showed a graphic earlier that showed Lilly has like the 5th lowest run support in the league at under 3. Cubs shouldn’t have a problem paying all of his salary and even throwing in Theriot for a decent lefty hitting prospect.

    I’d be just as inclined to trade out DLee as well, aside from the usual suspects(Sori, Kosuke, and Z).

    • bigpelflikesike123 5 years ago

      as a met fan i would be very inclined for a Famila Tejeda and Duda for Lilly and Theriot trade

  7. firealyellon 5 years ago

    Ted Lilly is a solid mid to back of rotation starter. Nothing more, nothing less. Only the Yanks have the deep bankroll to justify overpaying for average free agent talent like Lilly.

    • redsandyanksfan 5 years ago

      Yeah because the yankees is the only team with a high payroll right? your comment is idotic and plain dumb.I dont even see why you bring up the yankees and the payroll because the cubs gave lilly the contract

      • firealyellon 5 years ago

        Moderator, kindly delete the above post. Gracias.
        yanksfan, a reminder of MLBTR policy:
        “Attacks/insults towards other commenters, the post author, journalists, teams, or players (not allowed)”

      • bjsguess 5 years ago

        You are right on. The Yanks aren’t the only team with a high payroll. I mean – they are only $50m+ higher than the next team. Basically the Red Sox could keep their entire team plus absorb the Marlins and then they would be close to the Yankees payroll.

        • redsandyanksfan 5 years ago

          I cant tell if this is sarcasim or not but there are many teams who could take on Lilly’s salary and its all the other teams fault they dont spend thats what the shared revenue system is for but some owners pocket it. when they should be forced to spend it kinda like how marlins had to extend johnson or mlbpa woulda been knocking on Loria’s door. But im not seeing the argument your trying to get to , the yankees spend money to make there team championship every year if they have to. they have alot of home grown players on there team more than alot of other teams

    • redsandyanksfan 5 years ago

      sorry they deleted your post so i cant see it

  8. Bob George 5 years ago

    The Cubs are almost certain to NOT offer arbitration to Lilly. That’s not an indictment of Lilly but the reality of a shrinking payroll in Chicago and fear he would accept the offer. Look at Rich Harden last winter for an example. The Cubs could have offered him arbitration knowing he would turn it down to take a multi-year deal elsewhere instead of an $8-10m one year deal. But the Cubs didn’t offer arbitration and got nothing when he left. Lilly is more likely to accept arbitration than Harden was, since has has repeatedly said how much he loves Chicago, wants to stay, and when you figure in his advanced age compared to Harden, taking 1 year in arbitration at $12-14 million would be a good move on his part.

    Lilly won’t get $12-14 million per year as a free agent again. He’s 4 years older than when he signed his current deal and the marked has significantly changed.

    • Harden couldn’t expect a decent multi-year deal do to performance and injury history. Lilly will most certainly get a multi-year deal with a total value of more than the 10 Million he’d get in arbitration.

  9. firealyellon 5 years ago

    Prediction: Cubs win 5 games in a row, delude themselves into believing they’re a playoff team and fail miserably to rid themselves of onerous contracts before the trade deadline. Finally, they’ll offer Lou an extension with full no-trade protection.

  10. EdinsonPickle 5 years ago

    If and when he is traded it will be sad to see him go. It’s been awesome watching him pitch for the Cubbies over the past few years. I do hope the Cubs will get some good guys for him though.

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

      I’m with you. Ted Lilly has lived up to that contract. I know he has a limited no trade clause, and I hope the GM will work to send him where he wants to go.

      I think he’d be a great fit for the Mets and their park, he also works for the Dodgers and the Padres. Especially the Padres, his fly balling ways won’t hurt him there at all. I seem to recall the Cubs pen blowing some of his games in the recent past. I bet he’d like the Padres pen backing him up.

  11. He offers much more affordability, and a FRACTION of the talent! Wake up, teams….Haren and Oswalt are the only IMPACT starters to be had! If you think you can win it all THIS year by adding a frontline starter, then you make it happen!

  12. Ted Lilly is a Type A free agent. Start the bidding at two first round draft pick’s worth.
    Jarrod Washburn was an unranked free agent, a pure rental.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      Bidding over. No one is going to give the Cubs the value of 2 first round draft picks. In order to get those picks the new team would need to have the following conditions all be true …

      1. Lilly has to remain a Type A. No guarantee that will happen.
      2. The team has to offer arbitration. No guarantee that will happen.
      3. Lilly has turn down arbitration. Even less of a chance of that.
      4. The signing team has to be in the top half of the standings or you only receive a sandwich pick + a 2nd rounder (and that’s only true if the team doesn’t sign any higher ranked FA’s)

      That’s a whole lot of “ifs”. I would assume that the acquiring team would not offer Lilly arbitration. Having him on a 1/$12-13m type deal is pretty expensive for what you are getting.

      As for Washburn … he was outstanding last year at the trade deadline. Sub 3 ERA. He fell apart in Detroit but it’s hard to knock what he did through July. Much more impressive than Lilly. And he was less expensive.

  13. He will be offered arb and will decline. Lilly will be looking for a multi year deal to end his career on.

    • this. Lilly will be looking for a 3 year deal based off what he just did on a 4/40 deal. Arbitration will sit around the 10M/year base, not the final year’s value of the contract.

      Also, Dbacks want 2 SPs and a BP arm for Haren; on top of him being very affordable for them… nothing is going to happen with Haren unless someone overpays greatly. Astros are reluctant to trade Oswalt and refuse to give up more than 2-3M total on top of their asking price. They’d rather deal Myers and keep Oswalt… I doubt anything is going to happen there either.

      Lilly looks to be the only pitcher who is actually available and has pitched like a top of the rotation type guy… doesn’t go past this year and will cost the least out of the 3.

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