After having his 2013 season cut short due to Tommy John surgery, Chad Billingsley had his sights set on a return to the starting rotation this season.
Billingsley’s recovery was met with multiple setbacks before he was eventually shut down due to needing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. While losing any season to injury can be debilitating for a player, it’s particularly untimely for Billingsley.
The Los Angeles Dodgers hold a $15 million team option for 2015, but can also buyout the right-hander for $3 million. According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Billingsley is more concerned with his rehab, rather than his uncertain future with the Dodgers:
I don’t think about that too much because my main goal is to throw a baseball and pitch again,” Billingsley said. “If I do that, everything else will take care of itself.”
That being said, Billingsley is hopeful he can remain with the organization given the amount of time he’s been in Los Angeles:
I’d like to stay here. I hope we can work something out. … I’ve spent over a third of my life here. This is like home to me. I’ve lived in L.A. since 2006. I’ve seen a lot of faces come and go. They’ve been good to me here. I hope I can stay here.”
Of the two scenarios, the Dodgers are most likely to buyout Billingsley and allow him to hit the free agent market. Dan Haren’s vesting option kicked in when he reached 180 innings in his most recent start and while he’s said a decision on whether or not to return next season hasn’t been made, he would be owed $10 million.
It’s conceivable after buying out Billingsley, the Dodgers could attempt to bring him back on a lesser deal. Including Haren’s possible return, they would still need a fifth starter as Josh Beckett is also set to become a free agent after the season and is considering retirement.