Dodgers agree to one-year, $2.85 million deal with reliever J.P. Howell

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UPDATE: Olney clarifies that the deal is worth $2.85 million plus incentives.

9:08 PM: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the deal is done. Howell will make a $3 million base salary in 2013 and could earn more in performance bonuses.

8:54 PM: The Dodgers aren’t done spending yet. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the club is moving toward a one-year agreement with left-handed reliever J.P. Howell. Terms aren’t yet available, as the deal hasn’t been finalized.

Howell, who turns 30 in April, posted a 3.04 ERA and 42/22 K/BB ratio over 50 1/3 innings last season with the Rays. He has held left-handed batters to a .241/.323/.351 batting line and a .675 OPS during his career. The Nationals have also been linked to him this offseason.

The Dodgers watched Randy Choate leave for a three-year, $7.5 million contract with the Cardinals earlier this winter, so if signed, Howell will give the club a second left-handed reliever to go along with Scott Elbert.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.