In an unsurprising move, the Dodgers have elected to buy out Chad Billingsley for $3 million on Friday, declining to pick up his $14 million option. He is now officially a free agent.
Considering Bills missed all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery and started two games in 2013, this was a mere formality. He's looking to bounce back from a partially torn flexor tendon.
Now the question turns to whether or not the Dodgers may look to bring him back anyway, albeit for a much cheaper price. It would have to be something along the lines of a low guarantee with performance incentives.
My initial though is no way. Despite once being thought of as on a higher caliber than Clayton Kershaw, he just never found the consistency on the mound that would make him a staff ace. In 219 career games (190 starts), he's 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. The WHIP is on the high end, which shows the difficulties he's had keeping runners off base.
I can't see him coming back as a starter, but when you take into consideration the porous bullpen performance during the much of the season and especially the playoffs, maybe he can pull a Wade Davis and reinvent himself as a dominant setup man. He has 1,037 career strikeouts, so the power has always been there.
My guess it that he'll be looking to sign somewhere as a starter, so I don't see him in Dodger blue next year. But if that fizzles out, then maybe he can be talked into a relief role. We shall see.