One of the longest tenured Dodgers is no longer so. Right hander Chad Billingsley has signed with the Phillies for on a one year 1.5 million dollar deal. Jon Heyman reports that the deal contains performance based incentives that could earn him up to 6.5 million dollars.
Billingsley also know to us as “Bills” was drafted by the Dodgers in 2003 as a first round pick. Bills made his MLB debut for the Dodgers in 2006 under than manager Grady Little, and he has been with the Dodgers ever since.
Several teams were reported interested in Billingsley including the division rival Dbacks. Billingsley has not pitched in the majors since April of 2013 after having Tommy John surgery, and another surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
In his first three seasons Billingsley was one of the Dodger’s top starters. He posted ERA’s of 3.80 in 2006, 3.31 in 2007, and 3.14 in 2008. That 2008 season was perhaps his best, as he posted a 16-10 record, and struck out 201 batters in 200.2 innings of work.
Billingsley went on to win at least 10 or more games through the 2012 season with the Dodgers. He managed to post a career ERA of 3.65, an FIP of 3.67, and a strikeout per nine rate of 7.9. Billingsley has a career 81-61 record with a 3.8 walks per nine clip, and a 110 ERA+
Needless to say Billingsley was a solid contributor for many years in the Dodgers rotation until the injury bug bit him in 2012. During that season Billingsley was on one of the best streaks of his career, as he was 4-0 with a 2.22 ERA in five August starts.
But in late August of that year his elbow gave out. He had previously experienced a sore elbow earlier in the season, and the Dodgers had worried that it could lead to something more serious. Unfortunately it did. Billingsley was diagnosed with a torn UCL in his elbow and we feared that he would need Tommy John surgery.
Billingsley chose to try and avoid surgery by resting and rehabbing his ailing elbow over the winter break. He did not pitch again in 2012, and was supposed to be ready by spring training in 2013. It seemed to work as he appeared to be healthy during spring training. Billingsley pitched in just two games in 2013 before having to eventually undergo Tommy John surgery that season.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Bills was supposed to come back around again in 2014, but had to go under the knife once again to repair a torn flexor tendon not pitching at all in 2014, save for seven minor league innings. It seemed we had seen the last of Billingsley.
Chad Billingsley pitched in 219 games for the Dodgers from 2006-2013. Billingsley’s Dodger tenure saw three field managers, five playoff appearances, and four division titles. He also pitched in the 2006, and 2008 playoff runs, helping guide the Dodgers into the NLCS in 2008.
Stacie and I have always liked Billingsley and are sad to see him go. He was just a likeable guy. We’ll miss Bills and we wish him all the best in Philadelphia.