J.P. Howell signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, returning for the 2014-15 seasons.
The Dodgers have not made any blockbuster moves this offseason, but the roster is slowly coming together as the calendar year comes to a close. J.P. Howell is the latest piece to fall in place as he was signed to a two-year deal on Monday night, according to Ken Gurnick.
The 30-year old lefty will be making $11.5 million over the next two seasons. If he totals 120 appearances in those two seasons, a mutual option worth $6.5 million will be available for 2016. Howell was one of the Dodgers most consistent options out of the bullpen in 2013, posting a 2.03 ERA in 62 innings along with 54 strikeouts and a 1.048 WHIP.
Overall is it a good deal, as they brought back a reliable left-handed arm at a reasonable price. It is a comparable move to Colorado's recent signing of Boone Logan.
Logna is a 29-year old lefty who posted a 3.23 ERA, 1.179 WHIP and 61 appearances last season. Colorado shelled out $16.5 million over three guaranteed years for Logan, but a look at the statistics shows that Howell has outperformed him in most categories the past few years.
The move leaves the Dodgers bullpen looking largely similar to 2013. That is a good thing since the returning pieces were so consistent last season. So far they have lock-down righties Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson to close games, a right-hander who can pitch multiple innings in Chris Withrow, and lefties in Paco Rodriguez and Howell.
There is still work to be done as Ronald Belisario, Edinson Volquez have signed elsewhere and Carlos Marmol is unlikely to return. Belisario alone pitched the second-most innings out of the pen in 2013, while Volquez and Marmol ate up low-leverage innings near the end of the season.
What's next for the Dodgers, in terms of specific moves, is hard to say. Although we do know for sure that the focus is providing depth in the bullpen, and rebuilding the bench. Except for possible involvement in the Tanaka sweepstakes, the big moves are mostly over for the Dodgers this off-season.