The Dodgers declined the $14 million option on Chad Billingsley and will instead buy him out for $3 million. This move makes him a free agent and ends the three-year, $35 million deal handed to him by former GM Ned Colletti.
As you probably know by now, Billingsley lasted just two starts and 12 innings in 2013 before succumbing to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, and then on his way back in 2014 he suffered flexor tendon injury that also needed surgery, thus ending his 2014 before it began.
In terms of Billingsley’s future, he could be ready to start 2015, which makes him a buy-low candidate.
Billingsley said he expects to start throwing 3 months after operation. Another 3 months until he can pitch competitively.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) June 16, 2014
The Dodgers should probably take a look at whether he’s willing to re-sign with the club, not with the expectation that he’ll be the #4 or #5, but that he can be the reserve starter option the Dodgers so desperately needed him to be in 2014 when they were forced to make trades to fill out the rotation later in the year, trades that ended up being for Fauxto Carmona and Kevin Correia.
Sure, Billingsley never quite became the ace fans hoped he would, but he has averaged about 3 WAR per 200 innings over his career and I think his stuff might play up if he was forced into a bullpen role. If the deal to bring him back is reasonable and incentive-laden, I don’t see much reason to be against this.
As for Billingsley himself, he said near the end of last season that he hoped to return, so hopefully the Dodgers can make that a reality for him.