The Dodgers briefly tried to lock up Chad Billingsley this winter, and probably wish they had.
This is a topic that we’ve touched on a few times (most notably here) and it’s not going to get any better. I could understand the club having a slight hesitation after Billingsley’s offseason broken leg and subsequent surgery, but he’s clearly proven that’s not an issue. Even last night, when he was absolutely not at his best (5 walks, one sort-of intentional, and an RBI single to the opposing pitcher) he managed to keep the Dodgers in the game, and was rewarded with his NL-leading 6th win.
Look, the kid has done nothing but succeed since he first stepped foot in the majors in 2006, and he’s now becoming a bonafide ace. He’s 8th in the bigs in ERA, 7th in strikeouts - and he’s 18-4 in his last 22 decisions. He’s just 24 years old, and he’s already accomplished all that. Is there really doubt remaining that this is the type of player we’d like to see in Dodger blue for the next 10 years?
Heyman’s assertion that the Dodgers did “briefly” try to sign Billingsley this offseason is the first I’ve heard about possible discussion, and I’d love to know what transpired there. But know this: each time Billingsley goes out and gives the Dodgers a quality start (by which I mean, a “quality start”, not a Quality Start), that price is just going to go up and up.
So I’m just going to go out on a limb and say, let’s sign him. As soon as possible.
In other news…
Hey Raffy… tonight’s a good night to get going. The Mets are throwing out the bloated corpse of Livan “Cheeseburger” Hernandez, and Furcal’s killed him over their careers. In 75 PA, Furcal’s hitting .333/.400/.591, with 4 HR and an 8/9 BB/K ratio. Raffy’s been brutal this year overall (his hitting problems are starting to affect his fielding as well), so if there’s ever a time for him to get some confidence back, I’d say tonight’s it.
Joe Torre thinks Scott Proctor is stupid. From Newsday:
“There’s playing hurt, and then there’s playing stupid,” Torre said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with someone’s intelligence. If you can endure pain and still are able to do what you do, that’s one thing.”
“He doesn’t know what hurt is. The dumbest question I could ask him was: ‘Are you OK?’ Because I knew what the answer was going to be.”
Joe’s not wrong – it wouldn’t be the first time we’d been unhappy that a player didn’t disclose pain – but I have a feeling we’re all going to wish he’d said nothing at all here.
It’s time to give Andre Ethier a rest. Did you know that Ethier’s now grounded into 11 double plays, equaling his career high… and it’s not even June yet? No, I’m not off the Ethier train, nor am I ready to pronounce him only effective when Manny’s in the lineup (though it’s hard to ignore that Ethier had an OPS of .995 that day and has done just .319 since).
The fact is, he’s been brutal lately, regardless of why, and he’s known to be the type of guy who can’t let a bad game go easily. You’ve got Xavier Paul on the bench, who’s been very impressive in his short time up, and he’s even a lefty hitter too. Why not give Ethier tonight off, combined with tomorrow’s off day, and give him a chance to step back from this for a bit?
Or at the very least, can we please stop hitting him cleanup?
Finally, the obligatory Delwyn Young update. Hey, I know that the Dodgers have nothing if not talented outfielders right now, but it’s worth noting that he’s hitting .351/.415/.432 for the Pirates, and in starting three games in a row over the weekend, he collected 6 hits and 5 RBIs. Plus, there’s this from an anonymous scout (via Baseball Prospectus):
Pirates outfielder Delwyn Young: “He has his shortcomings defensively, but he can really rake with the bat, and I’d love to see Pittsburgh give him regular playing time to see exactly what he would do with it.”
Exactly what I’ve been saying for years…