UPDATE (7/17/14, 2:10p.m.): Mark Saxon reports he’s been told the Dodgers are not interested in Jonathan Papelbbon:
I have subsequently been told the #Dodgers are not interested in Papelbon
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) July 17, 2014
The Los Angeles Dodgers will resume the second half of their schedule with the best record in the National League and reason to be optimistic.
Aside from a strong month of June, the Dodgers have yet to truly hit their stride. Hanley Ramirez has been inconsistent, injuries have been an ongoing issue and the bullpen has had its troubles.
General manager Ned Colletti specifically mentioned the bullpen as an area he wanted to address prior to the trade deadline. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal identified the Boston Red Sox as a team the Dodgers could acquire relievers from should the Red Sox opt to shed salary.
According to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon, a former Red Sox reliever may be of interest for the Dodgers:
Spoke to a baseball source today who said he expects the #Dodgers to pursue Jonathan Papelbon
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) July 16, 2014
Though unlikely, assuming the Dodgers were to acquire Jonathan Papelbon without trading away one of their backend relievers, they would carry a fifth pitcher with closing experience. After seven seasons with the Red Sox, Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies.
Papelbon has 22 saves this season, his second with Philadelphia and he’s on pace to surpass his total of 29 last year. The 33-year-old has the remainder of the 2014 season and the 2015 guaranteed on his contract at $13 million each year.
Should the right-hander finish 55 games in 2015 or 100 from 2014-2015, Papelbon’s contract will vest for the 2016 season, also at $13 million. The veteran closer has rebounded well after somewhat of a down year in 2013.
His WHIP (0.86) is the lowest it’s been since his 0.93 mark with the Red Sox in 2011 during which he saved 31 games. Papelbon likely wouldn’t replace Kenley Jansen as the closer, but could help stabilize the setup man position if Brian Wilson were to continue struggling.