Dodgers Sign Ted Lilly

The Dodgers have signed Ted Lilly to a three-year, $33MM contract that was finalized today when the 34-year-old pitcher passed a physical.  Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter) reports that Lilly has a full no-trade clause for the first two seasons of the deal, and the left-hander will receive a $3.5MM signing bonus to be paid out over all three years.  Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com broke the news of the agreement last Saturday, and MLB.com's Ken Gurnick was the first to confirm the dollar amount (both Twitter links).

Los Angeles acquired Lilly from the Cubs at the trade deadline this summer, and watched him post a 3.52 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in dozen starts (76.2 innings). He also threw his first complete game shutout since 2004 while in a Dodgers' uniform. Lilly just wrapped up the four year, $40MM contract he signed with Chicago before the 2007 season. 

Lilly projected to be a Type-A free agent, so the Dodgers will be forfeiting a chance at two high draft picks with the move. Of course they would have had to offer arbitration and Lilly would have had to turn it down for that to happen, and neither of those things was a given. 

Lilly was positioned to be one of the best free agent starting pitchers available, and Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) calls the signing a "bargain" for Los Angeles considering what Lilly could've earned on the open market.  Apparently he preferred to sign quickly, and given how the market played out last offseason, it's hard to blame him.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post.


Leave a Reply

97 Comments on "Dodgers Sign Ted Lilly"


Eric
4 years 10 months ago

Interesting. Lilly will turn 35 before the season starts, therefore, a 2 year deal might have been a smarter investment. I would guess that this deal is similar to Tim Hudson’s 3YR/28M. Not bad, if the money is similar.

roberty
4 years 10 months ago

I was thinking the exact same thing! Thanks for writing it for me!

RedSox2219
4 years 10 months ago

Wow, 3 years. I was thinking a deal similar to Jason Marquis would get the job done.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Why would you think that? That makes zero sense.

melonis_rex
4 years 10 months ago

Reasonably thick mid-level starting pitching free agent market (Kuroda, Pavano, Lilly, Garland, De La Rosa, Westbrook, Padilla and Javy Vazquez as a rebound candidate).

And, Lilly’s 35 years of age in January and averages an FIP and xFIP around the mid-4 range

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Unless the Dodgers offered him ARB, there was no way he was gonna get anything less than 3 years @ 9-10 Million.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Wow! Interesting!

Bill Ladson thought that Lilly might be the next Jason Marquis, so signing him to a three year deal may not have been the smartest thing. But I’m happy with any and every hot stove move and a fine way to start the hot stove league news!!!

gigantes2425
4 years 10 months ago

Or Jason schmidt…

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

good call

walteralstonsrevenge
4 years 10 months ago

Funny how Giants fans like to dust off the Jason Schmidt deal, while strangely never acknowledging that the Barry Zito free agent contract is one of the worst in MLB history and obligates the Giants to pay out $126M as opposed to the just over $45M the Dodgers gave to Schmidt. Enjoy your inevitable loss to the Phillies, and enjoy knowing your favorite club still owes Zito $57.5 million over the next three seasons.

alxn
4 years 10 months ago

Something similar to Hudson/Wolf sounds about right

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Wolf is probably a better comparison because Hudson had just made 9 starts since his injury.

I’d say Lilly gets 3/30 with a mutual option for ’14.

hawkny1
4 years 10 months ago

What is even more interesting ?? How about the Dodgers announcing the deal during the playoffs? MLB usually frowns upon teams taking thunder away from the top teams competing for a WS spot…. by announcing trades, signings, etc… Dodgers are not nuch for protocol these days, eh?

myname_989
4 years 10 months ago

They haven’t announced anything. The reporters are just doing what they do best.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
4 years 10 months ago

someone’s a giants fan….

hawkny1
4 years 10 months ago

Naaawwwww…  but I know from years gone by that MLB doesn’t take lightly to individual clubs trying to upstage the playoff/world series teams with news about their own clubs.  I recall at least once where club owners were chastised publically by the Commissioner’s office for doing what LA just did with Lilly.

bjsguess
4 years 10 months ago

This isn’t A-Rod here. Unless you follow baseball closely or are a Dodgers/Cubs fan you could probably care less about this signing. Lilly is a fungible #3/#4 type starter. Still think they should have offered arb and taken their chances. If he turns them down they can still pursue him. If he accepts you pay more in year 1 but significantly reduce your long-term risk.

hawkny1
4 years 10 months ago

I have no particular love for any of the teams in this year’s playoffs, so I personally could care less about the Lilly signing.  But , like I said, the playoffs/WS are MLB’s showcase time.  They want every fan glued to the TV and thinking nothing about baseball except the teams competing right now.  It is all about prestige and ratings….   Don’t be surprised if, after the season is over, you read about the Dodgers, etc.. getting chastized, by letter, from the MLB front office.  It has happened before… in fact I vaguely recall a trade being nullified because it was announced too early, but don’t ask me about the details.  I don’t remember.

oremlk
4 years 10 months ago

I would definitely have offered arbitration in their shoes, the definition of a win/win scenario. Draft picks are probably worth more than having Lilly on your pitching staff, too.

Pavilionbum
4 years 10 months ago

Probably got him to accept less than what he would’ve made in arbitration (at least for this season), which would’ve been the motivation for making the deal.

grabarkewitz
4 years 10 months ago

Knowing Colletti and McCourt, they would’ve never offered arbitration. I think Colletti needed to make this signing because he is getting pretty well beaten up over his mid season moves. I just hope the contract is 3/27 at the worst. Anything more than that and the Dodgers will have overpaid to get the media off of Ned’s back.

BlueSkyLA
4 years 10 months ago

If they get him, it’s because they overpaid. If they don’t, it’s because they’re broke. Either way, somebody’s going to say it’s a mistake.

thegrayrace
4 years 10 months ago

Surprised so many of you didn’t think Lilly could get a 3 year deal. After Cliff Lee, Lilly may be the best FA pitcher on the market (arguments could be made for Pettitte, Pavano, Kuroda and De La Rosa). He’s only 1 year older than Wolf was when he signed his 3 year deal last off-season, and Wolf had a much more questionable injury history.

As long as it isn’t more than $30m, good deal for the Dodgers. They still need to either resign Kuroda or grab someone like Garland, De La Rosa, or Harang. Or maybe give Chris Young a look.

adropofvenom
4 years 10 months ago

Lilly has been losing velocity each and every season, to the point where his average FB was 86.7 mph last season (according to fangraphs). 3 years from now his heater will probably be in Jamie Moyer territory. This contract looks like it’ll be an albatross by year 3.

oremlk
4 years 10 months ago

Exactly. I don’t have much more confidence in Lilly than a spate of other starting pitchers on the market this winter.

grabarkewitz
4 years 10 months ago

I feel this all but ends any chance of a deal with Kuroda. I expect the Dodgers to resign Padilla to another one year deal and then the dumpster diving will begin. If I had any confidence in Ned Colletti, I would hope he takes a look at the Rays who might make guys like James Shields or Andy Sonnanstine available. Not number ones or twos, but not bad as number four or fives.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
4 years 10 months ago

Three years is probably one year too many. But I like this signing for the Dodgers. Lilly is a real pro, a fierce competitor, and his skills fit their park. Overall, a good move by the Dodgers.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Funny, the Dodgers can sign Lilly to a 3 year (probably 25-30MM) deal, but can’t pay the contract of Oswalt or any other valuable players.

Pavilionbum
4 years 10 months ago

Can really make that statement until we know what Lilly is making

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

It’s definetly going to be 24+ anually.

vtadave
4 years 10 months ago

So 3 years, $72 million? Seems a bit steep. :-)

3/24 is just fine. Yes, the FB velocity is declining, but beyond Cliff Lee, there’s not a lot out there. Now we get to see if signing Ted Lilly prevents McCheap from finding two more SPs, a LF, 3B, C, and 2B.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

He still has pinpoint location and struck out over a batter an inning in LA.

Pavilionbum
4 years 10 months ago

I doubt the money is too outrageous. I think Lilly just wanted the years. Probably too long a deal, but a signing we needed to make. Two more starters to go…..

Slopeboy
4 years 10 months ago

I may be wrong but I’m thinking Lilly’s deal is 3yrs for $30Mil+. No pitcher of his caliber is signing for 2 yrs for less than $10 Mil a yr. Could be that the first 2 yrs are front loaded, so if the Dodgers want to move him after 2 yrs,the money is not an issue.

dc21892
4 years 10 months ago

Lilly is a class act. He just wants to go out and pitch. If healthy, he’s going to be effective.

dodgerblue333
4 years 10 months ago

If its under 30m then it’s fine with me. Everyone on the story at dodgers.com is complaining about how we should have gone after Lee instead but honestly the possibility of acquiring a Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford was so low. Someone even commented on how the offense couldn’t hit behind Lily…and umm how exactly is that Lily’s fault? Anyways should be a decent pickup to fill a rotation spot. I’m not disappointed that we lost out on the chance of draft picks.

dgrfns
4 years 10 months ago

Finish his career where he started! Good start to off-season for the Blue. If they could just do the same with Kuroda!

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

That would be a sick rotation if they keep it intact. Injury prone like no other but still it could be awesome.

Jason_F
4 years 10 months ago

Sick might be a bit of an overstatement. Above average, yes. Sick? Not so much. Sick are the two rotations currently in the NLCS.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Clayton Kershaw who can become Lincecum, Bills who is just as good as Cain, Kuroda who is a solid 3 and could be a 2.. That’s sick.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
4 years 10 months ago

If you have two guys that are aces, and two #3s as your 1-4, thats pretty sick…

Jason_F
4 years 10 months ago

Let’s not get carried away and call Billingsley an ace.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
4 years 10 months ago

You are correct. However, Billingsley can definitely be considered a #2 and even a #1

4 years 10 months ago

While we are on the subject of the Dodgers, if they trade Matt Kemp, will Trayvon Robinson replace him? And what will it take to pry Dee Gordon away from them?

lakersdodgersyankees4life
4 years 10 months ago

I guess? Its not gonna happen. The coaching staff that had problems with Kemp are all gone and his hitting coach in the minors will most likely be his hitting coach this year.

With Dee Gordon, do you really usually pry prospects from other teams? Its usually the other way around, a team trades a very good MLB player and gets very good prospects in return. Back to his value, the Dodgers view him as the SS of the future and his year in AA was almost exactly the same with the normalization of his BABIP. His SB% stayed the same, and this was in a league that was two levels higher, and the biggest jump in the minors. Also, something interesting about errors in the minors.. players are encouraged to try to make plays they probably cannot because the coaches want to see what they can do. The fact that most of his errors were throwing ones, Id guess many were from plays he has not learned how to make yet(he has been playing for just 4 years..)

dirtyjohnston
4 years 10 months ago

Going out on a limb here, but Lilly strikes me as a guy that is smart with his money and doesn’t live the lavish lifestyle. I think he wants to end his career happy and the Dodgers are his first choice. I’m thinking the team threw a somewhat low number at him and it was close enough to get a deal done. My guess is 3 years and $21-$24 million. Seems low, but I have a feeling. Lilly made it clear that he loved being a Dodger.

cubfan4life
4 years 10 months ago

Anything more than 8 or 9 Mil per yr is going to be a tough sell. Depending on which direction they want to go in they still need another starter. I dont think that they really need a top of the rotation guy with Kershaw, Billingsley, Lilly already there. But the do need a guy who can give them 200+ innings. Cause even with Kuroda Lilly is still iffy as a 30+ starts a year guy. Kershaw is still young, only 23 at the start of next year. So getting a guy like Garland on a 1 yr deal makes a lot of sense. Other than that getting a LF and looking into a 3B as well as upgrading the pen should be where they focus this offseason.

Eric
4 years 10 months ago

On the surface Jon Garland’s 2010 numbers appear impressive: 14 Wins, 200 IP, and 3.47ERA. However, his 4.41 FIP suggests he is the same pitcher, although, Garland is an innings eater. He almost guarantees 200 IP of relatively good baseball.

The Padres and Garland have a 6.75M mutual option for 2011, but mutual options don’t usually get picked up by both sides, and Garland will probably look for a 2-3Yr deal. Garland will likely find a team that will give him the same deal that Jason Marquis signed (2YR/15M).

He is a mid-rotation starter and would be worth a 2YR/15M deal. Since being with the White Sox, Garland appears to be a west coast guy: Angels, Diamondbacks, and Padres. I agree that he would work nicely in the middle of the Dodgers rotation. As an M’s fan, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Mariner blue in 2011.

cubfan4life
4 years 10 months ago

Being from North Idaho im kind of a Mariners fan just because they are the most “local”. And yes Garland would fit in nicely in Safeco since they need at least 2 starters this offseason. The M’s and LA seem to have some of the same needs. SP, Middle of the order bat, bullpen arm or 2. So these names could be used for either team. Garland as i have mentioned. Kevin Millwood, Jake Westbrook, and maybe even Javier Vasquez,
Power bat guys: Werth is really the only one that makes sense and i dont think either team is willing or capable of giving out the type of contract that he will be looking for. So that may have to come through a trade and LA definatly has the better package that it can put together (Kemp and Gordon to name 2 tradable pieces).
And this years bullpen crop is deep so contracts should be manageable with guys like Balfour, Benoit, Qualls, Crain, Farnsworth, Frasor, Gregg, Guerrier, Rauch, Putz and Wheeler from the right side and Affeldt, Fuentes, Downs, and Choate from the left side. After having some lean years for quality relievers and contracts going up (see. Grabow, John 2/7.5M and Lyon, Brandon 3/15M) this should be a year where you can get a quality arm or 2 out of the pen for a decent price.

thegrayrace
4 years 10 months ago

FYI, Vazquez has made it known he quit a few times that he doesn’t want to play for West Coast teams.

cubfan4life
4 years 10 months ago

Hence the Maybe part in front of his name. Cause yes he has said that he would prefer an east coast team but i find it hard to believe that he wouldnt listen to the right contract offers.

cubfan4life
4 years 10 months ago

Hence the Maybe part in front of his name. Cause yes he has said that he would prefer an east coast team but i find it hard to believe that he wouldnt listen to the right contract offers.

cubfan4life
4 years 10 months ago

Hence the Maybe part in front of his name. Cause yes he has said that he would prefer an east coast team but i find it hard to believe that he wouldnt listen to the right contract offers.

thegrayrace
4 years 10 months ago

He went as far to put it in a no trade clause with Atlanta… I imagine he’d listen to offers from anybody, to use that as leverage in contract negotiations, but I doubt he signs with a west coast team…

cubfan4life
4 years 10 months ago

Hence the Maybe part in front of his name. Cause yes he has said that he would prefer an east coast team but i find it hard to believe that he wouldnt listen to the right contract offers.

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 10 months ago

I initially thought this deal was a little too much given Lilly is getting older, but looking this winters crop of FA pitchers is GLOOMY. Dodgers know that trying to getting some other decent pitcher would have to come via a trade, and teams are most likely going to demand outrageous demands again for their pitchers.

slider32
4 years 10 months ago

This is a good deal for the Dodgers. Lilly is a solid pitcher, there were many teams that would have taken him as a free agent. Look at it this way if your Lilly, you make a lot of money on a possible contender, great weather in that division, and your playing for a manager you like. What more could you ask for.

Jessamynn
4 years 10 months ago

I’m not a Dodgers fan, but good move. They really needed to show that they can operate amidst this McCourt mess. Kudos to them.

4 years 10 months ago

I find this signing interesting because it happened so quickly. Since Lily made 13M this year, I wonder if he told the Dodgers he intended to accept arbitration if offered. If that’s the case, the Dodgers may have figured it’d be better to sign him for 3 years at a lower annual rate than 1 year for a crapton of money. If they’re not going to get draft picks anyway, then at least they get an average-to-above-average pitcher for three years at market value instead of one year way above market value.