The Los Angeles Dodgers came into the off-season with 10 free agents and one of them has already set his terms. Left-handed reliever J.P. Howell was signed to a one-year $2.85 million contract last off-season and after a rough start to the season, he settled in and became one of the Dodgers most reliable relievers.
In 2010, Howell underwent season-ending surgery, but had solid seasons for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 and 2012 before making the move to the National League. Now a free agent, Howell spoke to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times about the interest he’s been receiving thus far:
J.P. Howell, one of the top left-handed relievers in the major leagues last season, said Tuesday that 15 teams have expressed interest in him and that he hopes to sign a three-year deal.
That’s what I’m looking for, Howell said.
With the Dodgers last season, Howell went 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA and when Paco Rodriguez wore down during the dog days of the season, he became the primary left-hander out of the bullpen.
However, Howell was impressive against right-handed hitters as well, limiting them to a .222 average while left-handers hit a measly .164 off the 30-year-old reliever. It’ll be interesting to see if the Dodgers shell out that type of contract to Howell, who said his preference is to stay with the Dodgers, but just wants to pitch for a contender.
General manager Ned Colletti has said all along that the GM Meetings are a way to lay the foundation for the off-season as the Dodgers now know what Howell is looking for in free agency.
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