Dodgers To Sign J.P. Howell

DEC. 24: The Dodgers officially announced the signing.

DEC. 20: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links) that Howell will receive a $3MM signing bonus and be paid $4MM in both guaranteed years of the deal. The option is a $6.25MM club option with a $250K buyout, but Howell can void the option when exercised, if he's willing to forfeit the buyout. The option becomes a player option if he pitches 65 games in 2015 or totals 120 games between 2014-15 and is not on the disabled list at the end of the season.

DEC. 17: The Dodgers have agreed to re-sign left-handed reliever J.P. Howell, reports Jon Heyman of (via Twitter). The deal includes two years at a guaranteed $11.25MM, plus a mutual option for 2016 that would convert to a player option if it is "triggered," Heyman reports. (Twitter links.)


Ken Gurnick of reported earlier this evening that Howell was close to a two-year deal for $11.25MM with a $6.25MM third year option that would vest with 120 appearances over 2014-15. Though final details on the option remain unknown, it could be that the mutual option would vest to become a player option at an appearance threshold.

Howell, 30, gets a significant raise on last year's $2.85MM salary. His $11.25MM guarantee falls shy of those received by Javier Lopez (Giants, $13MM) and Boone Logan (Rockies, $16.5MM), but Howell's representatives at the Legacy Agency secured their client a higher average annual value on his deal. And, if he makes good on the contract, Howell will presumably either trigger the vesting option, have the club pick it up anyway, or hit the market at 32 in good position to land another payday.

Last year, Howell registered a 2.03 ERA in 62 innings for the Dodgers, including 7.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 and just 6.1 hits per nine innings. Advanced metrics were a fan of his work in 2013 as well, with his FIP landing at 2.89 and xFIP at 3.48. 

In spite of Howell's excellent 2013 campaign, there were issues that may have held down his value to some extent. Low HR/9 and BABIP numbers last year drove his stellar results to some extent, and anticipated regression in those areas lead Steamer and Oliver (via Fangraphs) to project Howell's ERA in the mid-3.00 range for 2014. Going further back, moreover, though he managed a 3.04 ERA in 2012, it was accompanied by a 4.78 FIP and 4.17 xFIP. And in 2011, similarly unfavorable analytical marks resulted in a 6.16 ERA.'s Ken Gurnick first reported that the sides were closing in on a two-year, $11.25MM deal with a third-year option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

38 Responses to Dodgers To Sign J.P. Howell Leave a Reply

  1. Jose Villasano 2 years ago

    Since they got what they needed now the Dodgers now have to rebuild bench and extend Kershaw and Ramirez if they can this offseason

    • Anthony Hughes 2 years ago

      I expect them to be in on Tanaka big-time. Unlike a trade for Price, Tanaka wouldn’t require parting with any prospects, and you could get him for many more years at less salary, too.

      • meep 2 years ago

        well that depends how much dodgers really want him. since it was said recently that the dodgers might not want him as much as it was once reported. actually tanaka contract might be a big one plus the posting fee. so were talking around 50 to about 100 mill

        • Anthony Hughes 2 years ago

          The posting fee is only $20MM. That is absolute chump change to a big market team and I would expect that more than 7 or 8 teams will submit that fee. It’s basically like the guy will be a free agent. The Dodgers are definitely going to have interest, it’s just a matter of, do they want to make a highly competitive bid to the Yankees (you know they want him) and then, where does Tanaka want to play? The Dodgers do have a very rich tradition of not only international players, and not just Asian players, but Japanese players as well with Hideo Nomo. They also are arguably better than the Yankees right now. I would say the Dodgers have a solid shot at acquiring him. If the Yankees have the best shot, the Dodgers are right behind them.

          • gillyking 2 years ago

            The Dodgers are readily more anxious to make the mega deal with Kershaw and the re-up of H. Ramirez… This puts Tanaka’s acquisition down their priority list. However, the only reason that Tanaka wouldn’t become a Dodger is if the team decides against it. Currently, bypassing on Tanaka is the lean with Colletti right now.

  2. Tko11 2 years ago

    So what exactly makes Brian Wilson worth more $$ than Howell? Besides the beard.

    • The hair tie that he uses in his beard.

    • Pavilionbum 2 years ago

      What do you mean besides the beard? What makes Jessica Alba hotter than Cloris Leachman? Besides the looks.

      • Tko11 2 years ago

        So the beard is worth every penny is what youre saying?

        • Pavilionbum 2 years ago

          Are you for real? Why are you even asking?

          • Tko11 2 years ago

            Haha yes considering what the Red Sox did last year I wonder what the beard to WAR correlation is.

    • GeronimoJansen 2 years ago

      Because Wilson’s a former SF Giants legend and this is Colletti we’re dealing with here.

    • Anthony Hughes 2 years ago

      Maybe the fact that Wilson is fantastic, that might have something to do with it.

      • Tko11 2 years ago

        Hes coming off 2 TJ surgeries and has pitched only 15.2 innings the past two seasons. Nothing fantastic about that.

        • Anthony Hughes 2 years ago

          It’s a one-year deal. Did you see the way he was throwing last season, especially towards the end of the regular season and in the postseason when it really counted? He has also never given up a run in the postseason in his career. Not one. I’m thrilled he’s back on a one-year deal and I could care less how much he is getting paid. These are the Dodgers. They have the money. It’s like having two closers at the back of your bullpen and it’s a major advantage.

          • Tko11 2 years ago

            Sample size.

          • Anthony Hughes 2 years ago

            He was one of the best relief pitchers in baseball before he hurt his arm. I’m not sure why some fans aren’t on board with Wilson being an elite relief pitcher. Yes, there is risk of injury with him since he’s had TJ surgery twice, but it’s a 1-year deal. It’s more than worth the risk.

        • BlueSkyLA
          BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

          All of these “last two seasons” comments are irrelevant. We all know he was injured. What matters is how he pitched after he returned, which was about two months, including his rehab assignments. Clearly the Dodgers liked what they saw.

          • Tko11 2 years ago

            15 innings do not merit $10 million per year no matter how you put it.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            And if he pitches only 15 innings you will definitely be right.

          • Tko11 2 years ago

            Doesn’t matter if he pitches the whole season, he should have received a one year incentive laden deal to rebuild value not $10 million per year.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            I always find that people here have a much better appreciation of these things than the people who spend the actual money and have the actual accountability.

        • BlueSkyLA
          BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

          All of these “last two seasons” comments are irrelevant. We all know he was injured. What matters is how he pitched after he returned, which was about two months, including his rehab assignments. Clearly the Dodgers liked what they saw.

  3. Quikmix 2 years ago

    Rather than adding any more parts, I think the problem with the Dodgers is that they need to start clearing some space on the ever-tightening 40-man roster.

  4. James F 2 years ago

    Well, it looks like the Dodgers have retained two of the strangest relievers in the game. The guy that flops like a fish and the guy that braids his beard.

    • JasonGrabowski 2 years ago

      It’s true. dude ends up halfway to third on his follow through lol

  5. Brandon Mason 2 years ago

    Good Signing by the Dodgers

  6. JasonGrabowski 2 years ago

    I wonder if Elbert is done with the dodgers now. was hoping he’d bounce back

    • nwh2787 2 years ago

      More than likely. He’ll probably be designated for assignment. Hopefully, he’ll accept a minor league assignment.

      • thegrayrace 2 years ago

        Elbert will get picked up by another team if the Dodgers designate him for assignment. The Dodgers just tendered him a contract less than a month ago, so I doubt that is in their plans. They clearly still believe he has some value, or they would’ve just non-tendered him.

    • Matt 2 years ago

      He’s going to be out most of the year, if not all of the year recovering from Tommy John, with that said, the dodgers did give him a 1 year deal, so he should be with the dodgers through the end of the season, but be on the DL most of the year.

  7. meep 2 years ago

    alot of money but he worth it with what he did last season. lets just hope it doesnt hurt us in the end like the league deal. even if JP a much better pitcher

  8. Jake White 2 years ago

    The LA Dodgers: horrendously overpaying relievers since… well, 2013.

    • Puig Power 2 years ago

      These are market rates. I guess you could argue everyone is overpaying for free agents in 2013.

  9. AceRuby 2 years ago

    Boy the rich teams sure do keep on getting richer every year in free agency it seems…

  10. JacobyWanKenobi 2 years ago

    I wonder Howell JP will pitch this year.

  11. Mike 2 years ago

    Think the Dodgers got enough relief pitchers yet?

  12. LUKEINLA 2 years ago

    J.P is a great lefty specialist…………he reminds of the driver of the evil doctor in the Burbs.

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