Howell to sign with Dodgers

After watching Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Gonzalez all leave D.C. to sign elsewhere, the Nationals now have seen another left-handed reliever go off the market, as well.

J.P. Howell, a lefty who the Nats had been targeting for a spot toward the back of their bullpen, has agreed to terms with the Dodgers, according to multiple reports.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Howell’s deal with the Dodgers will be worth just under $3 million in base salary with performance bonuses.

The Nationals currently have Zach Duke as their left-handed long-reliever in the bullpen, and they also inked Bill Bray to a minor league deal this offseason.

Fernando Abad is another left-hander who was signed to a minor league deal to provide depth in spring training.

The Nationals don’t necessarily have to add another lefty to their ‘pen; they could go with Duke and Bray, or just have Duke as their long-man and rely on a trio of right-handers (Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen and Ryan Mattheus) who are also tough on left-handed hitters.

Manager Davey Johnson had hoped to add another proven lefty for the late innings, however, and Howell was considered the Nats’ top target after Burnett signed a two-year deal with the Angels.

Instead, Howell joins Burnett out west, leaving the Nationals with few remaining options when it comes to adding another southpaw.

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