Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Chad Billingsley's Callup to LA May Be Shortlived

An impending callup of 22-year-old prospect Chad Billingsley to the Dodgers is being prompted not by Billingsley's readiness but by a shortage of pitchers on the trading block. Dodgers GM Nick Colletti would have preferred to have engineered a trade and left Billingsley in Las Vegas for further development. But with 23 teams still competing for potential playoff spots, few pitchers can be acquired at a reasonable price, and none is necessarily are likely to be any more effective than Billingsley. Watch for Billingsley, who projects as a legitimate ace in two or three years, to be used as nothing better than a stopgap for now, replacing struggling Odalis Perez in the rotation. But as soon as more teams fall from contention and begin shopping starters, Colletti will try to acquire a more suitable established pitcher and return Billingsley to Las Vegas. . .unless, of course, Billingsley surprises by proving himself unequivocally capable of facing major league hitting. Don't hold your breath.