The Dodgers could pursue Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon if he is made available on the trade market in the next couple of weeks, according to a report from Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. A baseball source who spoke with Saxon said that Los Angeles is expected to pursue Papelbon, who will likely draw trade interest from multiple teams looking for bullpen help at the trade deadline.
Papelbon has said that he is willing to waive his no-trade clause for a deal to a contending team, which would mean that he would likely be willing to go to the first-place Dodgers if the teams agreed to a deal. The 33-year old has posted a 1.21 ERA and 22 saves on the year, posting some of the best numbers of his career and regaining the form that led him to five All-Star appearances in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012.
Papelbon has reportedly also drawn interest from the Angels and Tigers, though the Angels seem to prefer Padres' closer Huston Street and are trying to acquire him from San Diego. More teams should jump in the mix for Papelbon if the Phillies decide to become sellers at the deadline and shop him along with veterans like Chase Utley, Marlon Byrd, Jimmy Rollins and A.J. Burnett.
The Dodgers' bullpen has struggled as a group this season, ranking twelfth in the National League with a combined 3.74 ERA. Closer Kenley Jansen (3.49 ERA) and relievers Chris Perez (4.54 ERA) and Brian Wilson (5.64 ERA) have been especially concerning on the year, leading the Dodgers to pursue bullpen options like Papelbon in advance of the trade deadline.