J.P. Howell set to return to the Dodgers; adds plus lefty relief arm, plus-plus beard


J.P. Howell will return to the Dodgers in 2014 on a two-year, $11.25 million deal with options and bonuses, according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com.

The Dodgers are nearing agreement on a multi-year deal with southpaw reliever J.P. Howell, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. According to Gurnick, the deal contemplates a $11.25MM guarantee for two seasons. It would also contain a $6.25MM vesting option for a third year that will become guaranteed with 120 appearances over 2014-15.

Jon Heyman says the deal is done.

Howell played on an incentive-laden contract last year to prove he regained his form as a reliable lefty out of the pen, and he did just that. He posted a 2.03 ERA in 62 innings, and he had solid peripherals with a 2.89 FIP.

Without him, the Dodgers were looking at having just Paco Rodriguez, Onelki Garcia, Jarret Martin, and Scott Elbert as lefties out of the pen going into 2014. That group all have question marks going forward for varying reasons, and only Paco could possibly be seen as a reliable option to start the year.

Given the circumstances and the market, it’s hard to see this deal as anything but a positive since the guarantee is only for two seasons. We’ve seen a lot of decent pitchers getting three or four year deals, so to get a quality arm like Howell on a two-year guarantee — as well as Brian Wilson on a one-year guarantee — should be seen as a job well done.

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