Philadelphia is the place where Chad Billingsley will get his opportunity to show he can still pitch in the big leagues.
According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, the former Dodger signed a one-year deal with the Phillies that guarantees him $1.5 million and includes a number of performance-related bonuses.
The last two seasons haven’t been kind to the 30-year-old right-hander. Billingsley hasn’t appeared on a major league mound since April 2013. He’s battled elbow issues, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013 and then requiring an additional surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his pitching elbow in 2014 after experiencing discomfort in a rehab assignment.
Between 2008 and 2012, Billingsley was a very reliable starting pitcher for the Dodgers. He averaged 185 innings per season over that span and posted a 3.70 ERA. With trade rumors constantly swirling around Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the Phillies were looking for a veteran arm that could provide some cheap innings in the case that either Hamels or Lee is dealt.
“He’s a bounce-back candidate. We’re cautiously optimistic that it’s a good risk,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB.com. “We’re hopeful that by late April or early May he’s ready to pitch for us.”
Considering his recent injury history, Billingsley is no sure thing but at $1.5 million for one year, it’s certainly a worthwhile gamble for a guy that isn’t that far removed from major league success.
At worst, if Billingsley can stay healthy and string together a few quality starts, maybe Philadelphia can flip him to a contender down the stretch and collect an asset or two for the future.
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