Howell re-signed to 1-year, $1.1-million deal
Cliff Lee's decision is still pending, but a lefty free-agent pitcher did commit today, as J.P. Howell re-signed with the Rays, agreeing to a one-year deal for $1.1-million, plus some incentives.
Howell missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury that required May surgery, and isn't expected to be ready until some time into this 2011 season.
The Rays declined to tender him a contract at the Dec. 2 deadline, but both sides said then they expected him to be re-signed, so the move appeared more designed to allow the Rays to reduce his salary. Howell made $1.8-million last season, and via arbitration could talk no more than a 20 percent cut, which would have been $1.44-million so the new deal is presumably for less.
The Rays are still maintaining silence on the proposed trade of Jason Bartlett to the Padres. The holdup is not on Bartlett's end, so the scenario suggested last week by the San Diego Union Tribune that there was an issue with the physical condition of one of the two relievers coming to the Rays, Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos, seems to make sense. And Ramos, according to milb.com, is on the disabled list after pitching earlier this winter for Hermosillo, in the Mexican winter league, last appearing in a game Nov. 18.
The Padres are also declining to comment on the situation, so with neither side talking it's possible they are still trying to work out the deal.