Billingsley scores three-year extension

Pitcher Chad Billingsley and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed Tuesday to a four-year contract worth about $41.3 million that adds $35 million in guaranteed money over the final three seasons.

A first-round pick by the Dodgers in the 2003 draft, Billingsley has posted a winning record in each of his five major league seasons.

”It was a little bit of a compromise, but I’m happy with it and I believe they’re happy with it also,” said Billingsley, who is represented by agent Dave Stewart, a former All-Star pitcher himself. ”They came to us at the beginning of camp. We kept talking back and forth over the course of spring training and we were able to work something out. Ultimately, it was my decision and what I felt was best for me and my family.”

Billingsley avoided arbitration when he agreed to a one-year contract in January worth $6,275,000. The new deal gives him salaries of $9 million in 2012, $11 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014. The Dodgers have a $14 million option for 2015 with a $3 million buyout.

”Being a pitcher, it’s nice to have the security to fall back on in case something happens – because you only have so many throws in this arm,” Billingsley said. ”But I’ve been fortunate not to have too many health issues, except for hamstring problems.

”It’s a blessing for this opportunity to come my way, and I’m going to continue to focus on what I need to do. I want to continue to get better. I haven’t figured this game out. I’m still learning every day I step out on the mound.”

Billingsley, the No. 2 pitcher in the Dodgers’ rotation behind Clayton Kershaw, will make his season debut Friday night against San Francisco. The 26-year-old right-hander is 59-41 with a 3.55 ERA in 160 career games, including 131 starts, and helped Los Angeles win NL West titles in 2008 and 2009.

”Through his professional career Chad has shown that he is very capable of winning games and taking the ball,” general manager Ned Colletti said in a statement. ”His won-loss record speaks to that as well as his innings pitched totals.”

Billingsley has made at least 31 starts and pitched at least 191 2-3 innings in each of the past three seasons. He made the NL All-Star team in 2009. His 52 wins over the last four years, including a career-best 16 in 2008, are more than anyone on the staff.

”When I got drafted in 2003, I didn’t really know much about the Dodgers organization,” he said. ”After I started minor league camp, I really liked the history, the tradition and the winning that this organization represented. It was something that I enjoyed being part of, and I’m happy to be a part of it for a few more years.

”Not making the playoffs last year after two years in the NLCS, my main goal is to make the postseason again,” Billingsley added. ”That’s what we’re all working for. And as long as the team is winning, all the personal goals will be there in the end.”