ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Blue Jays have inked reliever J.P. Howell to a one-year deal, pending a physical. Financial details have yet to be revealed.
Howell, 33, had a mediocre 2016 campaign with the Dodgers, finishing with a 4.09 ERA and a 44/15 K/BB ratio over 50 2/3 innings. However, the lefty put up a 1.43 ERA in 2015, a 2.39 ERA in ’14, and 2.03 in ’13, so it’s reasonable to think he could return to that level of pitching. Howell showed a reverse platoon split in 2016 — meaning lefties hit him better than righties — but has historically dominated left-handed hitters. Howell is also quite good at inducing ground balls. Since 2013, Howell’s 58.5 percent ground ball rate is 13th best among relievers (min. 150 innings).
Howell gives the Jays a second lefty in the bullpen along with Aaron Loup.
David Price has opted out of the 2020 season. he’s the biggest star to do so to date. He said the that he will not play the 2020 season, citing health concerns because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Price joins Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross of the Washington Nationals, Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies, Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and free agent Tyson Ross on the list of players who have chosen not to take part in the season.
Price, who was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers in a five-player deal in February, previously agreed to pay more than 200 Dodgers minor leaguers $1,000 each to make up for lost wages. He was poised to enter the fifth season of a seven-year, $217 million contract he signed with the Red Sox in December of 2015. Per the terms of the agreement between the MLBPA and MLB, Price will not be paid for the 2020 season.