Chad Billingsley is now officially a former Dodger, as the Philadelphia Phillies announced Thursday they signed the 30-year-old right-hander to a one-year contract guaranteed for $1.5 million.
Because of elbow problems, Billingsley pitched only twice in 2013 and not at all last year. He became a free agent this winter when the Dodgers paid him a $3-million buyout rather than exercise his $14-million option for the upcoming season.
Billingsley was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2003 and broke into the major leagues only three years later at the age of 20.
He showed great promise early in his career, as he was 35-19 with a 3.33 earned-run average over his first three seasons.
In his fourth season, in 2009, he made the All-Star team.
But as well as he pitched at times, Billingsley might be remembered i for his role in the Dodgers’ defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 National League Championship Series. In Game 2 of that series, Phillies starter Brett Myers threw near the heads of Russell Martin and Manny Ramirez. Billingsley never retaliated. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings in that game.
While that performance made him the target of widespread criticism, the Dodgers viewed him as a dependable mid-rotation pitcher. He started 31 or more games in each of the four seasons from 2008-2011.
The elbow problems started in 2012, when he was shut down late in the season after he diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament. He underwent surgery on that elbow the following year. In 2014, he underwent another elbow operation to repair a torn tendon.