Breaking News: Los Angeles Dodgers to Sign Lefty Reliever J.P. Howell

Gary Ousdahl@@GaryOusdahlCorrespondent IIJanuary 5, 2013

According to ESPN's Buster Olney and the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez, the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to sign left-handed free-agent pitcher J.P. Howell to a reported one-year deal.

Howell, who turns 30 in April, had 3.04 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 50.1 innings pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.  

Howell missed the entire 2010 season and part of 2011 due to shoulder surgery, but had two solid seasons with the Rays in 2008 (2.22 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 89.1 innings pitched) and 2009 (2.84 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 66.2 innings pitched).

The former 2004 first-round pick (31st overall) is also a native Californian and a former USC Trojan.  

He will join a Dodgers team that has not been afraid to spend this offseason and looks to be taking the place of the departed Randy Choate, who signed a three-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason.

Will Howell come back to his prior form with a Dodgers team that looks to be the favorite in the National League West?

Time will tell.

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