Chad Billingsley Rumors

Dodgers Notes: Colletti, Billingsley, Kasten

The Dodgers sit 4.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West but still have six games left to play against their long-time rivals.  The two teams face off in the last series of the year and in a three-game set starting on Friday at AT&T Park.  Here are some news and notes out of Los Angeles…

  • With the Dodgers pursuing an extension with GM Ned Colletti, Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times recaps some of Colletti's best and worst moves and argues that Colletti is deserving of the new contract.  
  • Chad Billingsley may miss the entire 2013 season due to a slightly torn UCL in his right elbow, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  Billingsley will try to rehab the injury without Tommy John surgery, but if he needs to go under the knife, it will cost him all of 2013 no matter if he undergoes the procedure now or in the spring.  Since signing a three-year, $35MM extension in March 2011 that covers the 2012-14 seasons, Billingsley has posted a 3.92 ERA, 2.17 K/BB ratio and 7.5 K/9 in 57 starts.
  • The Dodgers' recent major player acquisitions served as "a statement of purpose" for Dodger fans, team president Stan Kasten said during a speech at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit (as reported by's Matthew Leach).  "Players like Adrian Gonzalez, players like Hanley Ramirez, they're not available. You can't get them in the free agent market," Kasten said. "This was a way to improve the team right away, while at the same time maintaining our core belief in also building the scouting and player-development system. That was always part of our model."

West Notes: Upton, Colon, Bloomquist, Billingsley

Colorado is the epicenter of scouting activity this afternoon as Cole Hamels starts against the Rockies. The Angels, Dodgers, and Rangers are scouting the Phillie left-hander, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (Twitter links). The Tigers are on hand taking a look at Marco Scutaro, tweets Tracy Ringolsby of Root Sports.  Here's the rest of the news from the AL and NL West with the most recent up top:

Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers Interested In Buehrle

6:05pm: It's highly unlikely that the Yankees will make a serious run for Buehrle, according to's Buster Olney (on Twitter).

1:54pm: The Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers are interested in free agent lefty Mark Buehrle, report Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and the Marlins are meeting with him today.  Buehrle, 32, posted a 3.59 ERA, 4.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.92 HR/9, and 44.9% groundball rate in 205 1/3 innings this year.  The long time White Sox starter has pitched 200+ innings in every season since 2001.

The Marlins and Blue Jays are the teams most aggressively pursuing trades for starting pitchers, add Rosenthal and Morosi.  One GM said of the Jays' Alex Anthopoulos, "You can’t pin him down. He has interest in every one of your players."

James Shields, Wade Davis, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, Jair Jurrjens, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Chad Billingsley, and Wandy Rodriguez are the pitchers "known or thought to be available in trades," according to the FOX writers.  Cahill and Billingsley are the new names here, but it's unclear whether they fall under "known" or "thought."  The availability of Rodriguez will depend on whether Jim Crane is approved as new Astros owner next week, as Crane does not share Drayton McLane's reluctance to move the 32-year-old.

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.


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 (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'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 (via Twitter).
  • The Mets shopped Oliver Perez today, according to Jon Heyman of (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'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'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
  • 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's Jayson Stark (Twitter link).
  • I answered questions from Neil Keefe and broke down the trade deadline in detail at

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…