I realized I hadn’t commented on the return of Ted Lilly (well, outside of Twitter) so wanted to officially weigh in on his return to the Dodgers. To recap, Lilly signed a three-year contract worth a total of $33 million. At nearly 35, Lilly isn’t exactly a spring chicken, but he is a durable, consistent starting pitcher that’s had a high degree of success throughout his career.
Most importantly, he’s a veteran who knows how to win and will be an excellent mentor to both Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw in the years ahead. I think this is just one of many intangibles that are often overlooked by fans and bloggers when assessing whether or not a free agent signing or trade is a success or not. Yes, bringing back Lilly shows the Dodgers are willing to spend money to improve the club, but more importantly it shows they are willing to invest in a quality starting pitcher.
Plus, Lilly’s a really good guy and character matters when building a baseball team.
Like many fans, I would have liked for the deal to have been for two years instead of three. But the reality is that Lilly would have commanded three years in today’s free agent market and I’m not opposed to spending the extra $11 million if that’s what it takes to bring him back.
Lilly had solid success while in LA (and was simply amazing upon his arrival), going 7-4 with a 3.52 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in 12 starts. For the season, Lilly was 10-12 with a 3.62 ERA. I’m sure Lilly recognized that his season really turned around when he came to the Dodgers, and was a factor in him resigning vs. testing the free agent market and probably obtaining a slightly larger contract elsewhere. Whatever the reason, I’m glad he’s back and will look forward to him pitching and representing LA for the next few years while he’s in Dodger Blue.
Now for a #4 starter…any ideas?
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Danny Moloshok