Just when things couldn’t get any worse, wham! Billingsley is officially shut down for the rest of the season. Billingsley was placed on the 60-day disabled list Wednesday night and consequently ended his 2012 season. Billingsley, who is suffering from a partial UCL tear, was originally placed on the 15-day DL on Aug. 25, had a second platelet-rich plasma injection Wednesday and the right-hander will begin a throwing program in two weeks.
If the second plasma injection doesn’t heal the partial tear, Billingsley will have to go under the knife to repair the UCL tear. Billingsley would have to have Tommy John surgery and would miss the entire 2013 season. Losing Billingsley for the playoff run may prove to be the final blow to this playoff contending Dodger team, and losing him for all of 2013 would mean finding a replacement. Say what you want, but Billingsley is one of the best pitchers in the game, and replacing is 2.8 WAR is not as easy as you would think. Â The good news is the upcoming free agent class is pretty deep, so the Dodgers should not have any trouble upgrading their rotation this winter.
I would also expect the Dodgers to turn back to Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez talks this winter. But should things not work out there, the Dodgers have a long list of free agents to pick from; Ryan Dempster, James Shields (club option), Jake Peavy (club option), Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, and Colby Lewis are some of the better options. Of course the Dodgers could also bring back Joe Blanton, who is also an impending free agent. Â The Blanton experiment Â hasn’t had a lot of success so it would not surprise me if the Dodgers try something new.
I fear the worst for Chad and the beard, especially with the Dodgers trying to downplay the situation. I would fully expect Billingsley to have surgery and look to bounce back in his final season before being eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
Billingsley, 28, hadÂ agreed to a three-year, $35 million extension last year that keeps him signed through 2014, with a $14 million club option for 2015. He finishes the season with a record ofÂ Â 10-9 with a 3.55 ERA in 25 starts, goingÂ 6-0 and giving up just six runs in six starts after missing his first post-All-Star break start with a small trip to the DL for an unrelated elbow injury. Billingsley has been stellar after his inconsistent first-half of the season, getting back in his lights out groove as the Dodgers reliable number two pitcher in the rotation. That spot will now go to Josh Beckett who has big-game experience and a solid track record, not to mention a World Series ring.