The Dodgers have agreed to sign J.P. Howell to a one-year deal worth just under $3MM, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times first reported the two sides were moving towards an agreement. The left-hander is a Legacy Sports Group client.
Howell, 29, pitched to a 3.04 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 50 1/3 innings for the Rays last season after missing all of 2010 and part of 2011 due to shoulder surgery. He held left-handed batters to a .200/.306/.306 batting line with a 52.4% ground ball rate in 2012. Howell is a soft-tosser, averaging just 87.1 mph with his fastball last year according to PitchFX.
The Dodgers have not been shy about spending over the last eight months or so. They've re-signed Brandon League while adding Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu this offseason, plus they acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and others during the season. Howell replaces the departed Randy Choate, who took a three-year deal with the Cardinals a few weeks ago.
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes did not rank Choate as one of the offseason's Top 50 Free Agents. As our Free Agent Tracker shows, lefties relievers like Will Ohman, J.C. Romero, and Manny Parra remain unsigned.