The Phillies announced that they have signed veteran right-hander Chad Billingsley to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that Billingsley's deal includes performance bonuses that could bring the contract up to $8 million.
The 30-year-old Billingsley has been a solid pitcher over the course of his career. He went to an All-Star Game in 2009 and at the height of his career he struck out a lot of hitters, while being an anchor in the Dodgers starting rotation. Billingsley has since aged and is far removed from his prime, but he has not aged nicely. Over the past two seasons, Billingsley has thrown just 12 innings, having Tommy John surgery in 2013 and Flexor Tendon surgery this past year.
It is hard to know what type of pitcher Billingsley will return as, but the Phillies need him as rotation depth, especially if Cole Hamels or even Cliff Lee get moved at some point this year. Other than their top two aces, the Phillies rotation includes Aaron Harang (who also signed a one-year deal), second-year starter David Buchanan, Jerome Williams, and complete unknown Miguel Gonzalez.
The Phillies had significant interest in signing Billingsley earlier in the week, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported. There was mutual interest in getting a deal done as well. Salisbury noted that Billingsley calls Reading, Pa. home, so the Phillies would be a local fit for him.
Surely, the expectations are quite low for Billingsley in 2015. From 2010 to 2012, he was a solid pitcher, going 33-31 with a 3.79 ERA (3.42 FIP) and a 1.343 WHIP. He posted good walk and strikeout ratios, registering a 7.7 K/9 and a 3.4 BB/9. Coming off the two surgeries, it is almost impossible to know if he can pitch to the same level he once did. In 2013, Billingsley allowed four runs in 12 innings.
The former first round pick is 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA (3.67 FIP) over his career. He has pitched eight seasons, all with the Dodgers, and has been worth 17.2 Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). -