Ted Lilly will be looking forward to proving himself in a strong and deep Dodger starting pitching rotation in 2013. And the Dodgers are expecting a starting staff that can go toe-to-toe with that of the 2012 champion Giants, whose staff of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum has captured two rings in the last three years. Arizona has also bolstered their staff, acquiring Brandon McCarthy to slot in as their second starter and leaving Patrick Corbin and rookie phenom Tyler Skaggs to duke it out for the fifth spot in their very talented rotation. San Diego is a pitchers heaven, and although the fences at Petco are coming in this season they always do a good job of building a staff tailored to their park. The Dodgers have noticed and as you’re aware have been extremely aggressive in pursuing impact starting pitching this offseason.
I’m new to Lasorda’s Lair and as you’ve gathered by now, I’ve chosen to start off my first article by taking a closer look at Dodger starting pitcher Ted Lilly. Lilly is the forgotten man in the new look rotation. He’s listed as the #8 starting pitcher on mlb.com. He hit the DL last May 24 with a left shoulder injury, and despite the rehab assignments, bullpen sessions and talk of a return he ended up going under the knife. Shoulder injuries can spell death for pitchers. Then why Lilly you ask?
Lilly, like a lot of lefties, relies not on an overwhelming arsenal but rather pitching smarts and guts. His surgery was officially described as a “cleanup procedure” and if he did happen to lose a tick or two from his fastball it will not affect him nearly as much most other pitchers. He fits the stereotype of the crafty left in every way.
So how does Ted Lilly do it? He throws his mid to high 80’s fastball about half the time and mixes in a slider, change-up and his signature 70 MPH curveball. He has excellent control, racks up a decent amount of strikeouts, induces a lot of pop-ups and gets better results than he looks like he should. Ted Lilly is an above average and undervalued starting pitcher. He also gives up a lot of home runs, is on the wrong side of 35 and is coming off a “cleanup procedure”. Ted Lilly is not a star and is not going to anchor the rotation of a team with playoff aspirations. He’s unexciting and was a boring signing at 3 years, 33 million dollars. As you remember though, under the old regime that represented one of the larger moves Colletti made.
The hot stove has churned Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano rumors all off-season long. The most recent whispers have had Harang in talks with San Diego, however; Capuano has understandably drawn more interest and is the more likely candidate to be dealt. Chad Billingsley opted for a plasma injection instead of Tommy John surgery, which makes him an unknown quantity at this point. Reports are that he hit 94 in a sim game in November so there is promise, but even if he proves himself in spring he’ll still have to stay healthy during the season.
Lilly will get his starts. Lilly doesn’t need to be flashy and he will provide solid results, give our boys the chance to win some ball games, and yes, he will serve up the occasional meatball that ends up deep in the left field pavilion. Ted Lilly will be Ted Lilly, and I for one am glad to have him back. What about you?
Coming soon… Sign Scott Hairston!