A franchise that has been spinning its wheels for a year made a good move today.
The Dodgers signed Theodore Roosevelt “Ted” Lilly, the left-hander they picked up from the Cubs on July 31, for three years.
It is a good move pending, of course, disclosure (or guestimates) of how much the veteran will be paid.
Lilly just finished a four-year deal for $40 million, and considering he will be 35 in January, we would assume the club is paying him significantly less than $10 million per season.
(We would be wrong: The salary figures that have emerged indicate that Lilly is getting $33 million for three years, which perhaps is what veteran pitchers can command, but still seems high.)
Lilly certainly was solid for the Dodgers in the final two months, going 7-4 with an ERA of 3.52 and a WHIP of 0.99 in 12 starts and 76.2 innings.
Lilly is a little left-hander, at 6-1, 195, but he is more than just “crafty.”
He always has thrown fairly hard and had a good strikeout rate. Since he broke into the majors in 1999, he has averaged 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
He has been fairly durable, hitting the disabled list only three times in his career and averaging just shy of 200 innings per year over the past four seasons.
Most important, he gives the Dodgers at least three-fifths of a legitimate starting rotation, along with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. The Dodgers never had more than four dependable starters last season, a fatal flaw, and they have four months to get back to four — and can perhaps do it by re-signing Hiroki Kuroda.
It looks as if it will be a fairly barren market for free-agent starters, so signing Lilly is a good idea. Even if it were Frank McCourt’s.