Reliever Market Shrinking For Philadelphia Phillies

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As of yesterday, it was reported by Buster Olney and the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez that former-Tampa Bay Rays reliever, J.P. Howell, has signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Howell was being targeted from teams all around the league especially the Washington Nationals, who are looking to add depth to their bullpen in 2013. For the amount that Howell signed, it is surprising that the Philadelphia Phillies did not put an offer in to the 29-year old left-hander.

Howell, according to Jon Heyman, will receive $2.85 million with $1.2 million in performance bonuses. The deal totals up to about $4.05 million for one season.

Phillies General Manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., has spoken before about the possibility of improving his bullpen. But with the signing of Mike Adams to pitch the 8th inning, it looks like Amaro is confident with the players that he has. Howell is coming off a solid 2012 season in which he pitched 55 games, finishing 10 of them, and recording a 3.04 ERA.

Howell will be joining a Dodgers team that has a lot to prove in 2013 due to all of the money that new ownership has put into the club. He will likely anchor the 7th and 8th depending on the situation.

With Howell signing somewhere other than Philadelphia, the question remains as to what Amaro will do with the remaining free agent period. The Phillies need depth in their bullpen as well as another outfielder. The vibe seems to be that Amaro will not rush into any moves that he does not drastically need to make. But not attempting to sign Howell and depending on a bullpen with injured players looking to make comebacks may end up hurting the Phillies in 2013.

David A. Cattai is a featured journalist with Rant Sports & Buzz On Broad.

Follow me on Twitter (@DCattaiSports), Facebook, and Google+ for sports updates.

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