Chad Billingsley Rumors

Chad Billingsley’s Extension

If Chad Billingsley had been looking to extract every last dollar from his big league career, he wouldn't have signed an extension this week. But he's 26 years old in a profession where career-altering injuries are commonplace and his employer offered him $35MM in guaranteed money. It's not hard to see why he signed a three-year contract with the Dodgers.  In fact, Billingsley pushed agent Dave Stewart to get a deal done now despite the agent advising he wait until after the season.

Billingsley

Though Billingsley will earn $9MM in 2012, a healthy '11 season would have positioned him for more given his career numbers to date. Two similar pitchers, Joe Blanton and Wandy Rodriguez, both asked for over $10MM heading into their respective final arbitration seasons though neither was as well positioned to ask for an eight-figure salary as Billingsley might have been. Blanton and Rodriguez started from lower base salaries than Billingsley's current $6.28MM mark and their ERAs sat more than half a run higher than than Billingsley's, so Carlos Zambrano may be a better point of reference.

Zambrano was working from a similar salary to Billingsley ($6.5MM) his second time through arbitration and had similar numbers to the ones now found on the back of Billingsley’s baseball card. Zambrano set himself up for a $12.4MM payday in 2007 with a banner '06 season, so an eight-figure salary would have been well within Billingsley's reach in 2012 with a typical showing in '11.

Billingsley's deal provides the Dodgers with a likely bargain on his first two free agent years as well. The contract pays him an average of $11.5MM for 2013-14, two seasons that could have been free agent years. The 25 extensions signed by arb-eligible starting pitchers since 2009 suggest the going rate for free agent years in multiyear extensions is $13.4MM, so the Dodgers appear to be getting a bargain of about $2MM per year.

There's a good chance that the Dodgers saved at least $6MM from 2012-14 by signing this extension. Billingsley has obtained $35MM in guaranteed money, however, and will be no older than 31 when he hits free agency for the first time. He has enough time for a major free agent contract after this extension expires.

Meanwhile, In committing to Billingsley, the Dodgers are taking on risk themselves. They're hoping that the right-hander's history of durability continues and that they save money, as expected. But they've invested tens of millions in a resource that's as fragile as it is valuable – starting pitching. With Clayton Kershaw approaching arbitration as well, it's a risk GM Ned Colletti may have to get used to.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


Dodgers Sign Billingsley To Three-Year Extension

The Dodgers announced that they have signed Chad Billingsley to a three-year extension that includes a team option for a fourth year. Billingsley will earn a guaranteed $35MM from 2012-14, his final season of arbitration eligibility and his first two free agent seasons. The Dodgers say they chose to invest in the pitcher because of his history of success and durability.

“Through his professional career Chad has shown that he is very capable of winning games and taking the ball,” GM Ned Colletti said. “His won-loss record speaks to that as well as his innings pitched totals.” 

Billingsley will earn $6.275MM in 2011, his second of three seasons as an arbitration eligible player. Under his new extension, the right-hander will then earn $9MM in 2012, $11MM in 2013, $12MM in 2014 and either $14MM or a $3MM buyout in 2015. The deal includes a clause which allows Billingsley to block trades to ten teams.

Billingsley, a Dave Stewart client, has been a steady presence in the Dodgers' rotation since 2006. He posted a 3.57 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 191 2/3 innings last year. His career numbers – 59-41 record, 3.55 ERA, 825 2/3 innings, 8.2 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 – have led to larger-than-usual rewards through arbitration. With a typical season in 2011, Billingsley could have asked for an eight-figure salary in '12 and hit free agency afterwards, but the extension provides security and extends his stay in California.

Francisco Liriano, Trevor Cahill, Jered Weaver, Clay Buchholz, C.J. Wilson and Clayton Kershaw are among the top starting pitchers currently without multiyear extensions.

Joe McDonnell of FoxSportsWest.com (Twitter link) first reported the deal and Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles and Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times added detail (all Twitter links).


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:

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Odds & Ends: Padres, Oswalt, Farnsworth, Theriot

We here at MLBTR really appreciate everyone staying up past their respective bedtimes to keep up on all of the latest rumors.  Here's some news from around the web..


Odds & Ends: Lowell, Perez, Zambrano, Ross

Links for Friday, with less than 24 hours before the deadline…

  • The Pirates acquired minor league outfielder Mitch Jones from the Braves, according to MLB.com's transactions page. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Braves obtained cash in return (Twitter link).
  • The Rangers are the only team that has slight interest in Mike Lowell, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via Twitter).
  • The Mets shopped Oliver Perez today, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
  • The Cubs are resigned to the fact that if they want to trade Carlos Zambrano, it will have to happen in the winter, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports will believe that Cody Ross is unavailable once the deadline passes tomorrow. Until then he's a skeptic (Twitter link).
  • Teams like Joe Beimel, but are only offering the Rockies non-prospects, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The Rockies are shopping Randy Flores.
  • GM Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash explained to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that the Brewers look for "plus" fastball velocity, quality breaking pitches, solid arm action and delivery and height in the pitchers they pursue.
  • The Rangers are talking to rival teams to determine if there's interest in Rich Harden or Scott Feldman, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
  • The Astros wanted Chad Billingsley in exchange for Roy Oswalt, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (Twitter link). The Dodgers countered with a four-prospect offer, but the Astros preferred the Phils' offer.
  • The Royals aren't making much progress on deals, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (Twitter link).
  • I answered questions from Neil Keefe and broke down the trade deadline in detail at WFAN.com.

Odds & Ends: Dunn, Dodgers, Lee, Tigers

Links for Saturday night, after Roy Halladay and Travis Wood traded zeros for nine innings….


Odds & Ends: Martinez, Rangers, Strasburg, Zambrano

Links for Wednesday…


Top Trade Chips: NL West

Let's take stock of each team's top trade chips, starting today with the NL West…

  • Diamondbacks: Arizona moved two of its best trade chips this winter in Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth, and there's obviously no way Justin Upton will be moved. The cupboard is a little bare right now, but Stephen Drew could be available for the right price. He has two more years of team control left after 2010. Conor Jackson, who won't be a free agent until after 2011, could be attractive as well. Top prospect Jarrod Parker is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • Dodgers: Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are deal breakers, but Chad Billingsley could be dangled after popping up in rumors during the offseason. The 25-year-old posted a 5.21 ERA in his final 19 appearances last year, though his peripheral stats were in line with what they had been in previous seasons. He won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season.
  • Giants: Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval aren't going anywhere and Matt Cain just signed a new extension, so Brian Sabean's best trade chip is lefty Jonathan Sanchez. The 27-year-old owns a career 9.3 K/9 and won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2012 season. Madison Bumgarner's stock is down while he battles with Missing Velocity Disease, and Buster Posey isn't going anywhere.
  • Padres: Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell aren't just San Diego's two best trade chips, they're among the best in the game. Gonzalez is one of the baseball's premier power hitters at age 27, and will make just $4.75MM in 2010 with a $5.5MM club option for 2011. Bell has emerged as one of the league's most dominant closers, and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season.
  • Rockies: Everyone wants to get their hands on Troy Tulowitzki, but it's just not happening. Brad Hawpe is the player most likely to be moved, and there should be interest given his annual .890 OPS's and 25+ homers. He has a $10MM option for the 2011 season with a cheap $500K buyout, and Colorado has a glut of young and productive outfielders to replace him.

The Dodgers’ Fifth Rotation Spot

The front of the Dodgers' rotation is pretty well set, with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla set to occupy the first four spots. There's no shortage of candidates for that fifth spot, but as Steve Dilbeck of The Los Angeles Times notes, most of the contenders have unfavorable contract situations. 

Eric Stults and Charlie Haeger are both out of options, Carlos Monasterios is a Rule 5 pick, and both Ramon and Russ Ortiz are believed to have out clauses in their contracts. The one rotation candidate that doesn't have any strings attached is James McDonald, but it doesn't help that he has a 20.25 ERA and a 3.56 WHIP in just over five innings this spring. Regardless of who LA picks for that last spot, there's a chance they'll lose some depth as the other guys succumb to roster limitations.

Let's open this one up for discussion. Who do you think the Dodgers should put in their last rotation spot, and what should they do with the other players? Essentially your choices are a) put them in the bullpen, or b) risk losing them to waivers/out clause/Rule 5 rules. Here are the Spring Training stats, not that they mean anything. 


Dodgers, Billingsley Avoid Arbitration

The Dodgers avoided arbitration with Chad Billingsley, agreeing on a contract for 2010, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Billingley, who made $475K last year and was arbitration-eligible for the first time, will earn $3.85MM this year, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.