LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their bullpen on Tuesday, announcing deals with J.P. Howell, Chris Perez and Jamey Wright. They also brought back third baseman Juan Uribe.
Howell returns to Los Angeles for a two-year contract that includes a third-year vesting option. He held opponents to a .193 batting average last season and had a 2.03 ERA, both career bests.
Howell, who went 4-1 in 67 appearances in his first year with the team, was especially tough on left-handed hitters, holding them to a .164 batting average.
General manager Ned Colletti said Howell’s demeanor and competitiveness were “real positives” in the clubhouse.
Coming off his best season with Los Angeles, Uribe received a two-year deal. He batted .278 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs in 132 games. He also had a big postseason homer that helped the Dodgers clinch their NL division series against Atlanta.
The 34-year-old Uribe played mainly at third base and had just five errors in 900 1-3 innings. His .983 fielding percentage was second among major leaguers at the position.
The Uribe signing comes as little surprise for the organization, whose alternative within the system seemed to be late-season pickup Michael Young.
Perez signed a one-year deal two months after the five-time All-Star was released by Cleveland. Colletti said Perez expressed interest in joining the Dodgers and pitching in any role that is asked of him.
Perez’s addition doesn’t change the Dodgers’ plans to have Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson serve as the primary closers. Colletti said he couldn’t pass up the chance to add another reliever who has had success late in games.
Perez became a full-time closer in 2010, and has 132 career saves. The right-hander was 5-3 with a 4.33 ERA and 25 saves in 30 chances for the Indians. The 28-year-old’s first major league save came against the Dodgers in 2008.
Perez’s time in Cleveland was at times overshadowed by turmoil. He angered Indians fans last season for saying they didn’t support the team like they should, and he rankled Cleveland’s front office by criticizing trades and stating the Indians weren’t spending enough to win.
Last June, Perez was arrested after drug agents followed a package containing marijuana to his Ohio home. He and his wife pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
Wright signed a one-year deal to return to the Dodgers after pitching for them in 2012.
The right-hander was 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 66 games for Tampa Bay last season. In 2012, Wright made the Dodgers after he was a non-roster invitee to spring training and went 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 66 games.
Wright, who turns 39 on Wednesday, was mostly a starter for the first 10 seasons of his 18-year major league career. He’s made 22 relief appearances of at least two innings during the last three seasons. He is 9-4 with a 2.50 ERA in 42 games at Dodger Stadium.
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