In an off-season in which many names are leaving the franchise, a favorite is sticking around for at least another season. Marc Topkin announced on The Heater that Howell has signed a new 1-year deal for $1.1m. R.J. Anderson opines over at The Process Report that this deal is likely a minor league deal given the fact Howell is likely going to miss the first four to six weeks of the season following his shoulder surgery on May 19th of this year.
If this is indeed a minor league deal, it would be much like the Joaquin Benoit story from last season where Howell could stay in Durham and pitch as long as necessary to rebuild his arm strength. The Rays would benefit by having his service time clock delayed so Howell could be offered arbitration after 2011 and retained for 2012.
Coming back from the type of shoulder surgery he had is never an easy process so it is unknown what type of pitcher Howell will be once he comes back. I am just happy that a familiar face is sticking around for another season and I’m looking forward to more situations being chilled.