As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Ted Lilly has decided to remain with the Dodgers for the next three seasons, signing a deal worth a reported $33 million. While the Dodgers roster may see some changes this winter, we can get a pretty good idea of how Lilly’s value has been impacted by his decision to stay in Los Angeles.
After being dealt from Chicago to L.A., Lilly performed extremely well and did his best to keep the Dodgers in the playoff picture. He struck out over a batter an inning while donning Dodger Blue (or white, or gray, or whatever) and did a great job of limiting free passes. Yet, his FIP was barely below 4.00 due to Lilly’s love for home runs.
Lilly’s always been a fly ball pitcher, never posting a GB% north of 38%. Last year in L.A. (and Chicago), his ground ball rate reached an all-time low, coming in below 30%, easily the worst mark in the league. Even though Dodger Stadium can be a pitching heaven at times, Lilly’s lack of ground balls allow his HR/FB rate to be fairly normal while giving up around 1.5 homers every nine innings.
As far as the Dodgers’ defense behind him, Los Angeles had the worst outfield defense in baseball last year, according to UZR. Some of those problems will go away with Manny out of town, but it’s clear the Dodgers’ defense isn’t going to do Lilly any favors. Maybe he knew what he was doing, going for more strikeouts and all that jazz?
Teddy will be 35 before next season begins, so he’s no spring chicken who’s looking to make strides and improve on his numbers. As a starter who’s going to give you a K/9 around 8.0 and limit walks, Lilly will have value in all leagues. He’s not going to be anything special thanks to an ERA that will likely be lackluster, but if he can rack up 13+ wins, he’s worthy of being your third starter.