Ricky Nolasco's three-year contract extension with the Marlins provides a nice framework for a similar deal for Chad Billingsley with the Dodgers.
Now that we drafted the framework of a potential Clayton Kershaw contract extension, it is appropriate to move on to the Dodgers' other young starter, Chad Billingsley. Luckily, Ricky Nolasco and the Florida Marlins have provided the framework for such a deal. Nolasco signed a three-year extension with Florida worth $26.5 million, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
Billingsley compares quite favorably to Nolasco:
Billingsley has the better career numbers, is about a year and a half younger, and is coming off a better 2010 season. Nolasco was limited to 157 2/3 innings last year, while Billingsley threw 191 2/3 frames, his third straight season of 190 innings or more. However, Nolasco's contract is still a very comparable one for Billingsley, based on their respective service times.
At four years, 142 days service time (per Cot's Baseball Contracts), Nolasco has 32 more days of service time than Billingsley, but in reality Nolasco is a notch above Billingsley in service class. Nolasco was a Super Two free agent after the 2008 season, giving him an extra year of salary arbitration, boosting his salaries through those arbitration years. He made $3.8 million last season, while Billingsley made $3.85 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Nolasco's contract bought out his final two years of arbitration, plus his first year of free agency, in 2013. The same structure of a deal can work for Billingsley, given that he has two years of arbitration remaining as well, and made a similar salary in 2010.
I don't necessarily think Ned Colletti will sign Billingsley to a long-term deal this winter, but if he does, Ricky Nolasco has at least provided a blueprint for a contract.