The Dodgers are reportedly close to signing starting pitcher Chad Billingsley to a three-year contract extension, according to multiple sources. The deal would cover the 2012-2014 seasons, with an option for 2015, and worth a reported $35-36 million guaranteed, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The deal would buy out Billingsley's final arbitration year, plus at least two years of free agency.
Billingsley was 12-11 with a 3.57 ERA in 2010, with 171 strikeouts in 191 2/3 innings. He avoided arbitration earlier this winter by signing a one-year deal for $6.275 million for 2011. This contract means that Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw will be together in Dodger blue through the 2014 season.
The Dodgers get a pitcher in his age 27-29 seasons, and possibly his age 30 season, the prime of his career. Billingsley, meanwhile, gets the financial security of a multi-year contract, plus the ability to be a free agent at either age 30 or 31, when he could possibly command a lucrative long-term deal. Billingsley is the first of the core Dodgers to sign a multi-year deal which bought out any free agent years. Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and Jonathan Broxton all signed two-year deals before 2010, but those only covered arbitration years.
Billingsley will make his first regular season start on Friday at Dodger Stadium against the Giants.
For more news and information on Billingsley and the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.