Howell has made 122 appearances the last two seasons, so if he pitches enough for his option to vest, it'll almost be surely because he has pitched well.
By comparison, Javier Lopez got three years and $13 million from the Giants and Boone Logan got three years and $16.5 million from the Rockies. Howell at two years, $11.25 million (up to $17.5 million in three years) looks awfully good.
What separates Howell from Lopez and Logan is the fact he can get right-handers out -- something that makes him more valuable to the Dodgers.
With Paco Rodriguez faltering down the stretch, the Dodgers needed another left-hander in the 'pen. Considering the options, they couldn't have done better.
I had Howell pegged at two years and $7 million, but that was before the market developed. I tweeted in the last week or so I'd be fine with giving him a $18 million over three years. I wrote a few weeks ago a 3-year deal was just fine with me.
I'd even argue re-signing Howell is a more important move than re-signing Brian Wilson.
The bullpen is just about wrapped up. With the addition of Seth Rosin as a potential long-reliever, the Dodgers might not need another high-profile bullpen signing. If they don't want to go with Jose Dominguez or Brandon League, perhaps another right-hander could be brought in. Jamey Wright had been mentioned before, and I'd be good with that.
Howell wasn't a sure bet to return to the Dodgers, but his California ties (born in Modesto, went to school in Carmichael, lives in Los Angeles) probably played into his decision. Oh, and that whole "Playing for a championship" thing.
Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons