Chad Billingsley made two rehab starts for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2014 before an elbow injury ended his season. (Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Twitter)
was chosen by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2003 draft. Since then, the Dodgers were the only franchise that employed him. That changed Thursday, when Billingsley signed an incentive-laden, one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
In Philadelphia, Billingsley joins a starting staff that includes Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, former Dodger Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams and David Buchanan.
Once heralded as a possible right-handed anchor to complement Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers’ rotation, Billingsley was the Dodgers’ minor-league pitcher of the year in 2004 and 2005. But he only pitched two games the last two years because of elbow injuries. The Dodgers filled out their starting rotation this winter by signing Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson then added depth by acquiring Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger, Juan Nicasio and others. By the end of December, Billingsley’s time with the Dodgers was all but officially through.
Billingsley’s 1,037 strikeouts are the 13th-most by a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. In an interview last September he reflected on his time in the organization, noting that he’s been with the Dodgers more than a third of his life.
A local World War II veteran wanted to meet Tommy Lasorda before he died. Clifford Rich, 90, crossed the item off his bucket list recently when Lasorda called to chat; he died the following day.
Here is the touching story from colleague Dennis McCarthy.
Dodgers shortstop prospect Corey Seager checked in at number five this morning on ESPN.com’s annual list of the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Writes Keith Law:
Unless he experiences a miraculous change in body type, this Dodgers prospect isn’t going to be a shortstop in the majors. Cal Ripken Jr. has been the only one Seager’s height to stay at the position, and Seager, who turns 21 in April, already has about 20 pounds on Ripken. Seager still has MVP-type upside at third base, where I expect him to be an above-average or better defender, just as his brother Kyle has become, but with a much stronger hit tool.
Seager’s swing isn’t textbook, but it’s very quiet, especially in light of the thunder it produces, producing strong contact rates as well as plus power. He loads his hands a little low and deep, but he gets to everything — velocity, spin, inside and outside pitches — and has the ability to drive the ball the other way with what seems like a flick of his wrists. He has been young at every level he has played in pro ball, even skipping the complex league in 2012 to go right to Ogden, and has been able to make significant adjustments, including killing the tendency to let his front side go soft that led to a brief struggle at the end of 2013. Kyle Seager has turned into one of the top 20 players in the majors, but even as good as he is, brother Corey has the potential to be much better.
The Dodgers also placed pitcher Julio Urias (9) and outfielder Joc Pederson (28) in Law’s top 50. ESPN.com will release numbers 51-100 tomorrow.
Joc Pederson hit 33 home runs and stole 30 bases for Triple-A Albuquerque in 2014. (Getty Images)
, who is competing for the Dodgers’ starting center field job
in spring training, is the number-two outfield prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com
Writes Teddy Cahill:
The outfield logjam at Dodger Stadium extends to their prospect ranks. Pederson was named the 2014 Pacific Coast League MVP after hitting .303/.435/.582 with 33 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 121 games for Triple-A Albuquerque. He has solid all-around tools, and after making his Major League debut in September, he figures to soon play a prominent role in Los Angeles.
Fans paying to park at Dodger Stadium at the entrance gates will pay $20 this season, up from $15, the Dodgers announced Thursday.
A year ago the Dodgers announced that fans who purchase their parking passes in advance, and present their parking pass on their mobile phone or a paper printed from home, would be charged $10. Fans buying a physical pass at the gate would pay an additional $5.
The $10 price for prepaid passes is still in effect.
Dodgers infielder Justin Turner joined alumni Ken Landreaux and Matt Luke at the Long Beach Rescue Mission. Check it out:
Turner also talked about his butt-kicking offseason workouts today. View Thomas Cordova’s photo gallery from today’s event here.
The Dodgers released this handy-dandy map and schedule in one graphic for Saturday’s FanFest at Dodger Stadium. The event is free. Just click to expand.
The Dodgers’ farm system, defined as every player in the organization who hasn’t achieved Rookie of the Year eligibility yet, is the 10th-best in baseball according to ESPN.com.
Writes Keith Law:
Their front three prospects are the strongest in the game, and their top 10 is still strong, but it thins out very quickly beyond their 10th or 11th guy. In terms of just guys with the potential to be stars, they rival the Cubs and Twins.
The Cubs took the top spot on Law’s list. The Twins ranked second.
As for the Dodgers’ top three prospects, the consensus trio is pitcher Julio Urias, outfielder Joc Pederson and shortstop Corey Seager (in some order). That’s true both inside the organization and outside.
Law ranked the Dodgers’ organization 22nd as recently as 2011.
Dodgers shortstop prospect Corey Seager, 20, slashed .345/.381/.534 after getting called up to Double-A last season. (Staff photo)
MLB.com is ranking its top 10 prospects by position, and Corey Seager checked in at number four on today’s list of the top shortstops.
Writes Jonathan Mayo:
Kyle Seager is an All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman who just got a big contract extension from the Mariners. Scary thing is his kid brother might have more upside. He’s as good a hitter as there is in the Minor Leagues, one who’s bat will profile well even if he has to eventually move to third, a move most foresee. He has All-Star potential wherever he plays.
Seager, 20, recently received his first invitation to the Dodgers’ major-league spring training camp.
Erik Bedard went 4-6 with a 4.76 earned-run average in 17 games (15 starts) for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.
The Dodgers announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Ben Rowen and left-handed pitcher Erik Bedard to minor-league contracts with invitations to major league spring training camp.
That brings the number of non-roster invitees to 18:
Pitchers (8): Chris Anderson, Erik Bedard, Ryan Buchter, David Huff, Josh Ravin, Ben Rowen, Sergio Santos, Julio Urias
Position players (10): Erisbel Arruebarrena, Buck Britton, Matt Carson, O’Koyea Dickson, Kyle Jensen, Chris O’Brien, Corey Seager, Ali Solis, Darnell Sweeney,Shawn Zarraga