Chad Billingsley Reportedly Close To Three-Year Extension

General manager Ned Colletti misunderstood Chad Billingsley's comment about the St. Patrick's Day uniforms. "We need to see more green," said Billingsley.

Say whatever you want about the Dodgers, but at the very least they will have Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley together at the top of the rotation for at least four more seasons. The Dodgers are close to signing Billingsley to a three-year contract extension, according to several sources. The deal was first reported by Joe McDonnell of Fox Sports Radio (hat tip to Roberto Baly of Vin Scully is My Homeboy for the link).

The deal would cover 2012-2014, buying out Billingsley's final year of arbitration, plus two years of free agency, per Tony Jackson of ESPN LA. In addition, there could be an option for a potential third year of free agency, in 2015. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times says the total value of the deal, including the option buyout, is between $35-36 million, and that the value of the option is still being negotiated.

That value fits in nicely with the Ricky Nolasco three-year contract signed this winter. Back in December I advocated the Dodgers use Nolasco's deal as a template for a potential Billingsley deal since they were on the same salary growth path. However, that was before Billingsley signed a one-year deal for $6.275 million for 2011, avoiding arbitration. Here's a comparison of salaries between the two pitchers over the last few years, including my guess as to the breakdown of Billingsley's deal:

Year    
Nolasco Billingsley
Arb $3.8m $3.85m
Arb $6m $6.275m
Arb $9.5m $9.5m
FA $11m $12m
FA ---
$13.5m
FA --- $1m buyout

The final two years of Nolasco's deal, covering one arbitration year and one year of free agency, pay a total of $20.5 million. Add in a slight bump for Billingsley for those two seasons, and there's the framework for a deal.

Frankly, this is great news for the Dodgers. The only multi-year deals given in the past few years to the core of players have been two-year deals to Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and Jonathan Broxton, but none of those deals bought out any free agency years. For Billingsley, he gets the financial security of a multi-year deal, and he still gets to be a free agent at age 30 or 31.

Tonight's Game

The Dodgers host the first leg of the two-game Freeway Series with the Angels. Ted Lilly will make his final spring start, and will be followed by Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Hong-Chih Kuo, Mike MacDougal and Kenley Jansen.

Ervin Santana starts for the Angels. Fernando Rodney and Jason Bulger are also scheduled to pitch for the Angels.

Lineups

Angels   Dodgers
2B Izturis
SS Furcal
1B Kendrick        
LF Gwynn
LF Abreu
RF Ethier
RF Hunter
CF Kemp
3B Callaspo
1B Loney
SS Aybar
3B Uribe
CF Bourjos
C Barajas       
C Wilson
2B Carroll
P Santana
P Lilly      

Notes

**********

Game Time: 7:05 p.m. PST

TV: KCAL

MLB Gameday

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