It was somewhat surprising earlier this offseason when J.P. Howell accepted his player option instead of hitting the open market for a longer-term payday.
Listening to him talk about playing for the Dodgers and alongside Kenley Jansen helps understand the decision, though.
This isn’t to say his thinking was just about friendship over a potential contract, only that the relationship puts a more human element often overlooked in sports, especially when topics like personnel movement come up.
Cary of Osborne of Dodgers Insider spoke to Jansen and Howell about their friendship and watching each other compete at this level.
“After James Loney left, the guy I could trust was J.P.,” Jansen said. “He’s like my big brother. Anything I can talk about on the field, off the field to get my mind set and straight, he’s always there for me. He’s been through it.”
This is Jansen speaking, but when a teammates is equated to an actual family member, it’s safe to say the feeling is at least somewhat mutual.
The best part of the friendship to me is that, even though Jansen might be the more talented player, there doesn’t seem to be any bitterness or hinting at jealousy from Howell’s end about Jansen’s abilities.
Case in point:
“It’s been incredible to watch,” Howell said. “I’ve never seen a pitcher live so dominant. And he did it raw out of the gates. Now he’ fine tuning and getting better and better as it goes.”
The entire article is great as the two players compare themselves to a cookies n’ cream ice cream, talk about their adjacent lockers and more. Great work here from Osborne in getting the two to open up like they did.