After the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't make any deals at the non-waiver trade deadline last week, they were left with two noticeable issues that went unaddressed.
Question marks surrounded the back end of the starting rotation as Dan Haren and Josh Beckett had become unreliable due to poor performances on the mound and a trip to the disabled list, respectively.
While Haren rebounded this week with an impressive outing on the road against the Angels, Beckett was sidelined yet again with a bum hip.
The injury led general manager Ned Colletti to make a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez, the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona. Hernandez had been placed on waivers this week. The Dodgers sent two minor league players to be named later to the Phillies in the deal, per MLB.com's Ken Gurnick and Michael Lananna.
However, the back end of Los Angeles' bullpen could still use some shoring up. Brian Wilson and Chris Perez, who recently landed on the disabled list just before Beckett this week, both have ERAs north of 5.00. Manager Don Mattingly has grown reluctant to use them in pressure situations. Wilson surrendered a game-tying home run to the Angels' Albert Pujols on Monday night in his latest appearance.
There are several relief pitchers who also cleared waivers this week, with more expected to follow suit in the coming days. The Dodgers should consider the following names as waiver season gathers steam prior to the Aug. 31 deadline.
The Phillies are in the cellar of the NL East, and their fiery closer has cleared waivers.
Jonathan Papelbon indicated last month that he would accept a trade to a contender like the Dodgers. Although he didn't mention Los Angeles specifically, Papelbon told reporters it would be a "no-brainer" to leave the City of Brotherly Love if a team with a realistic chance at the postseason came knocking.
It was then reported that the Dodgers may indeed pursue Papelbon to help shore up the back end of their bullpen, per ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon.
Although that report was almost a month ago, it does not necessarily mean the Dodgers have closed off negotiations with the veteran closer, who has tallied 27 saves on the year while boasting a minuscule 1.68 ERA.
If anything, Colletti may be interested in Papelbon now more than ever, considering the situation with Wilson and Perez has not improved.
The Dodgers' relief corps ranks 19th in baseball with a 3.65 ERA.
The Dodgers have been known to take chances on former closers who—for whatever reason—lost their value in the market.
Los Angeles gave Wilson a shot last year after the former Giants closer made a comeback from Tommy John surgery. Los Angeles ended up re-signing him for the 2014 season. Perez, who used to close out games in Cleveland, is another example of this type of reclamation project.
Matt Lindstrom of the Chicago White Sox has not cleared waivers yet, but he may be more than a blip on the Dodgers' radar in the likely event that he does.
Similar to Wilson last season, Lindstrom is coming off a serious injury. The seven-year veteran tore a tendon sheath in his left ankle and has not pitched since May 19. He began the season as Chicago's closer and is making progress toward a return to the mound this month, according to Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.
The White Sox are out of the race, but Lindstrom owns a respectable 3.32 ERA in 19 innings pitched this season. He could make a viable candidate in the back end of the Dodgers bullpen should Colletti pull the trigger on a deal for the hard-throwing right-hander.
Prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, Los Angeles was reportedly interested in San Diego relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Although no deal was consummated, there is reason to believe that the right-hander with a 1.75 ERA in 46 innings this season will find himself on waivers this month as a member of the punchless Padres.
It may still be difficult for the Dodgers to acquire the services of the talented veteran. San Diego may not want to trade Benoit within the division, and teams ahead of Los Angeles in the waiver process will most likely put a claim on him first.
The remaining advantage for Los Angeles in this potential sweepstakes is that Benoit is owed just under $2 million for the rest of this season and another $8 million next season. If there is any team that would be willing to swallow that kind of money in order to bring in Benoit, it's the deep-pocketed Dodgers.
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