When Ted Lilly was traded to the Dodgers, the idea was that he would help put them back into the playoff race. When Ted arrived in LA on August 1st, the Dodgers were 54-51, eight games out of first place. Today they remain eight games out of first, though Ted has nothing to do with that.
Rather, Ted has been the best Dodgers’ pitcher since he got into town. He’s made four starts, and hasn’t taken a loss yet. He has posted a 1.29 ERA, a .419 OPS against, struck out 26, and allowed as many runs (4) as walks. He’s been worth 0.6 WAR in those four outings, and he’s making the Dodgers look really smart for acquiring him.
It looks like his efforts won’t result in a playoff birth for LA, the rest of the team hasn’t played well, and they have too many teams to jump in the standings, but his efforts are going to result in quite the payday.
When Ted hits the free agent market this winter, he will be one of the top arms available. After Cliff Lee, and maybe Carl Pavano, Ted is the best pitcher out there. He’s boosting his value with each start, and could possibly command another four year, $40 million deal like he got in 2007. To make him an even more attractive option, the Dodgers probably cannot offer him arbitration. Last year they didn’t offer arbitration to any of their free agents, a bi-product of their owner’s messy divorce, and nothing has changed on that front since.
With no draft pick compensation attached to him, Ted will be fielding offers from all over baseball. A reasonably healthy (though his shoulder has been an issue the last two years) left handed starter is always in high demand, even more when you don’t have to lose a first round pick to sign him. Any NL team with enough money will probably give him a call, the Cubs included.
Ted has found continued success in LA, and it is making him more and more attractive to teams this winter. Hopefully he finishes the season as strong as possible, and gets himself another big payday this winter. I just hope that payday doesn’t come from the Cubs.