The Dodgers agreed to a one-year $2.75MM deal with left-hander J.P. Howell. There are some incentive in the deal according to Buster Olney. Not sure of the total value yet, but I am always down for extra motivation.
Howell, 29, missed the end of the 2009 season, all of the 2010 season, and part of the 2011 season as well. Howell is a bit of an injury risk, he’s got a wild card factor, but his upside is well worth the risk here. Howell has struggled with control for his entire career, but his strikeout rate has been remarkable, to the point of outweighing his control issue.
2012 wasn’t exactly a great year for Howell, bouncing back poorly after his trio of injury plagued seasons. His strikeout rate plummeted, but his ERA went up, his FIP sunk as well, so it’s hard to say what 2013 will bring. Still, I like the signing and what he brings to a very deep bullpen.
Here is what I don’t like about the deal, his overall fit is a bit questionable on the surface. After all, the Dodgers already have Scott Elbert, Paco Rodriguez, and probably Ted Lilly, but the Dodgers can afford to spend some money on a veteran to add stability to the bullpen. The reality is there is little risk here and some upside if he ever gets back to his old form, but don’t count on him being a huge upgrade, more of a depth move than anything else.