Phillies Sign Billingsley to MLB Contract

Earlier this evening, the Phillies came to terms with free agent RHP Chad Billingley.  The sides agreed to a 1 year, $1.5M contract with performance bonuses, reported to be around $6.5M (by Jon Heyman)

The 30-year old Billingsley has pitched just 19 innings over the past two seasons (major/minor) because of elbow injuries.  He is attempting to comeback from TJ surgery and a repaired torn flexor tendon.  He passed his physical and the Phillies hope he an be in Philadelphia by the end of April or early May.  (Of note, Wandy Rodriguez recently failed a Phillies’ physical and went on to sign with the Atlanta Braves.)

In their press release, the Phillies stated, “As has been the case throughout this offseason, we have attempted to create as much starting pitching depth as possible at both the major and minor league levels.  Given Chad’s track record, we feel he is an excellent candidate to bounce back as a productive starting pitcher.”

Between 2008-11, the former Dodger started over 30 games each year and pitched between 188-200 innings each year.  In his last full season in 2012, he recorded a 10-9 record with a 3.55 ERA in 25 starts and 148 innings.  His BB and K rates were 2.7% and 7.7% per 9 innings.  His K/BB was 2.84.    Billingsley was an All Star in 2009, a year when he led the league with 14 wild pitches.

Right now the rotation looks like Hamels, Lee, Harang, Buchanan, and Williams.  If Billingsley can rebound, he’ll be a nice pitcher to have in case of an injury to or trade of one or more of the starters.  And in a perfect world, maybe he becomes a trade candidate.  No vesting option, you see.  Let’s hope the performance bonuses aren’t so easy to attain that they become a deterrent at the trade deadline.  (tic)

The signing required the Phillies to make a move off their 40-man roster.  Left-handed reliever Cesar Jimenez was designated for assignment.  That ends the speculation we had earlier about who would be the first guy off the roster when a new player was acquired.  For the record, I had guessed Phillippe Aumont.

Billingsley was assigned Kyle Kendrick’s #38.  Guess that means Kyle’s gone for good.


21 thoughts on “Phillies Sign Billingsley to MLB Contract

  1. “Given Chad’s track record, we feel he is an excellent candidate to bounce back as a productive starting pitcher.” Ah, the ‘ol press release bs…honesty be damned. How about, “While Chad is attempting a comeback from TJ surgery, given his track record, we are hopeful he can bounce back as a productive starting pitcher.”

  2. Nah he needs full yr to have any value. He’s been away 2 yrs, most of the players Phillies are bring in are for 1 yr contracts.

  3. I like this move BUT of all the deals to include a TEAM option on this is that type of deal. Throw a $10 million dollar team option on it. His agent would not want it but demand it if you are giving a $1.5 million guarantee and up to $6.5 million in incentives.

    If he’s good some team would be happy to give you a prospect for a 31 year old SP who has a history of being good on a “reasonable” 1 year deal. If he gets hurt or sucks you decline the option.

    That is how you make options work for you and not hold up making deals.

    1. I think the Phillies were in on Beachy also. The reason I say that, is that, his agent is quoted today on MLBTraderumors as saying Beachy wants to wait, because he is getting stronger, and on the same day, essentially, the Phillies sign Billingsley.

      1. I was puzzled by the ‘wait’ comment. I would think most any athlete rehabbing a serious injury would prefer a contract and team facilities and medical personnel to work with. When healthy Beachy never earned as much as $2 M a season and he won’t get much in guaranteed money now.

        1. A 10 million $ team option? Why would you set it so high? If anything it would be closer to around 4-5m team option and that’s high at that. His agent knows how hard it is to bounce back from 2 surgeries and would be thrilled if his client could earn 4-5m next year. 10m would be dumb, why would the Phillies even want to pick up a option for that much when they know they more then likely won’t be competing next year?

            1. Its not untradeable if its a TEAM option. The Phillies have untradeable contracts because they make the options PLAYER options or VESTING options. SMART teams, like the Rays for example, use PLAYER options to control the player and their salaries. DUMB teams like the Phillies give options to the players that hold up deals and give the player all of the control.

          1. A player’s agent isn’t going to let them sign an option for nothing. According to Heyman the contract can top out at $6.5 million if all incentives are hit. Let’s assume that means 200 IP will max the deal out. Your expectation as the agent is that my guy hits those inning numbers and then I can get him a multi year deal as a 31 year old who just threw 200 innings at a reasonable ERA (reasonable being sub – 4.00). Those type of guys on the open market get 3 years $9-$12 million per year.

            I would prefer not to set it so high but to get an agreement you would have to make it high and still hope to get value. You put the option in because teams will give you prospects to have a pitcher on a 1 year market or below market contract. You make deals like this to hopefully have the player perform and then trade them for a younger prospect at the trade deadline or next year (if you had put an option into the contract)

  4. If the Phillies think there’s a good chance he might be healthy, I’m all for them chasing Beachy – he was on his was to becoming one of the 10 best starting pitchers in baseball before he got hurt. He was outstanding.

    1. catch….not sure he was on the verge of stardom… his four years, granted ’13 was cut short with injury, but he has pitched last then 300 innings in his career.
      Now 2011 his stuff was outstanding, but things started trending downward in 2012…though, in fairness to him, he may have been going thru the first stages of the injury at that point.
      Coming back from surgeries are difficult in recapturing the old stuff. But if he is healthy, and comes fairly inexpensive, then why not give him an opportunity!

      1. Beachy was tremendous when healthy. In the first half of 2012 (as a 25 year old) before he had Tommy John he pitched to a 2.00 ERA. He hasn’t been healthy since and had to have a 2nd TJ but he is still only 28. He and his agent are waiting because he wants to throw off a mound around Spring Training and pitch at the MLB level in the late summer or fall.

  5. I like this signing. Billingsley, Harang, Williams, MAG, and Buchanan should all be battling for spots behind Hamels and hopefully a healthy Lee. I would love to add Beachy as well. I liked him as a SP before he got hurt. Plus, if he could come back and put up good numbers I’d be especially happy because I can’t stand the Braves.

    I think they are starting to build SP depth with the belief a team will get desperate enough to meet or come close to their demands for Hamels. From the comments Ruben and co. have been making, it sounds like they want to wait and see if a team loses a SP to injury in spring training or wants to add a big arm at the deadline to put their team over the top.

    We should be in a good situation to trade some SP at the deadline. Adding Beachy to the other guys competing for a rotation spot gives us plenty of options. If we trade a SP or two at the deadline they could be replaced by calling up Buchanan or MAG if either of them start at AAA or by calling up Nola or Lively.

    Lee, Beachy, Billingsley, Harang, and one of Williams/Nola/Lively/MAG wouldn’t be a terrible rotation for a rebuilding team. Heck, Nola and Lively could force their way into the rotation during the second half. That would mean someone will need to go anyway. Plenty of possibilities for the FO. It should be interesting to see how it works out.

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