2013 Dodgers player profile: Ted Lilly, fighting an uphill battle

USA TODAY Sports

Ted Lilly has had a hard time returning to the mound in spring training, after rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery. Will it cost him a chance at one of the five starting rotation spots on the Dodgers?

Ted Lilly is facing a pair of uphill battles this spring. Not only is he one of five starters fighting for two rotation spots, but he also is simply looking to get back to good health after missing the final four months of 2012.

"It was the toughest year of my career," Lilly said.

Lilly entered 2012 on fire, as he was 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in his first seven starts. However the eighth start was his last of the season, and his first loss. He hurt his shoulder then despite various rehab attempts didn't pitch for the Dodgers again during the season. Lilly had left shoulder surgery on Sept. 21, and though he came to camp relatively healthy he has had a hard time getting on the mound.

"The only guy that's kind of fallen off track a little bit, though he's throwing the ball well, is Teddy, who has had bad luck. He got sick and missed a start, then he got a start and it got rained out," manager Don Mattingly said. "He hasn't been able to log the innings that the other guys have, on the field at least. But the ball's coming out good. When you see Teddy at 88-89, he's going good."

We know that Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Josh Beckett are locked into rotation spots, barring injury. Chad Billingsley and Hyun-jin Ryu probably have the inside track to the other two spots, so even if Lilly pitches well he might find himself on the outside looking in.

Though Mattingly has expressed doubt in Lilly's bullpen capability, there is an outside chance he could end up there. Given that Lilly is making more than both Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano and is coming off surgery, he might be the toughest of the three to trade. Plus, he's willing to do the job and in fact, Lilly said he would rather pitch out of the bullpen for the Dodgers than start somewhere else.

"I would do that. I want to be a part of what's going on here first and foremost. I feel like I'm capable of being a successful starter, but I have to be ready for whatever," he said. "The objective is still the same, get the hitter out."

Trivia

In the last three seasons, Lilly has allowed 62 stolen bases, tied for eighth most in baseball during that span, with only five caught stealing. Though Lilly has a well deserved reputation for allowing stolen bases at a rapid rate, teammate Josh Beckett has almost under the radar allowed 68 steals against just eight caught stealing during that same time.

Contract Status

Lilly gets $13.5 million in 2013, the final season of a three-year contract. Lilly's payout includes a $12 million salary and $1.5 million of deferred signing bonus.

Previous Player Profiles

2011: No subtitle needed

2012: Beware the big stick

Stats

Year Age IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP
2010 (Chicago/LA)
34 193⅔ 2.04 7.71 3.62 4.27
2011
35 192⅔ 2.38 7.38 3.97 4.21
2012 36 48⅔ 3.51 5.73 3.14 3.92
2013 Projections - Age 37 Season
Source IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP
Oliver 134 2.55 6.85 3.49 4.02
ZiPS 111 2.59 7.22 4.05 4.42
Pecota 26⅔ 2.36 8.10 2.71 ----

2013 Outlook

I think Lilly somehow finds his way onto the Dodgers, and puts up a 4.07 ERA in 11 starts.

Be sure to guess how you think Lilly will perform for the Dodgers in 2013. Include ERA, number of starts, and whatever else you wish to guess.

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