Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lefty Howell bolsters the 'pen

One big item left on the offseason "To-Do" list was adding another southpaw in the bullpen.  With Scott Elbert coming off of elbow surgery and Paco Rodriguez still rather inexperienced, the Dodgers needed an upgrade.

J.P. Howell could very well be that man.

The lefty reliever has jumped ship from Tampa Bay with a one-year, $2.85 million contract, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.  There's more money to be made with performance bonuses, though those numbers are currently unknown.

Last season was a great one for Howell, which he certainly needed after a dreadful 2011, which followed missing the entire 2010 season with a torn labrum.  In 2012, he appeared in 50 1/3 innings covering 55 games, tossing a 3.04 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.  Most importantly, he was awesome against lefties, as he held the 99 batters he faced to a .200 AVG and only five extra-base hits.

That's welcome news for the Dodgers, as the NL West has some good sluggers from the left side.  Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies, Yonder Alonso of the Padres, Jason Kubel and Miguel Montero of the Diamondbacks, and Brandon Belt of the Giants are the biggest threats.  OK, so maybe Alonso and Belt are a bit of a stretch, but they both look like they could be good power hitters.

In my last post I discussed what I believe to be the 25-man roster right now, but with the Howell signing, that obviously bumps somebody out.  If I have to take a guess, I'll go with Javy Guerra.  That would leave Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, and Matt Guerrier from the right side, and Chris Capuano (if he's not traded, which is a strong possibility), Elbert, and Howell from the left side.

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