The Dodgers bullpen didn't allow a run in the weekend series against the Nationals, and in fact has been pretty much untouchable for most of July. But that doesn't mean the Dodgers aren't looking to upgrade their relief corps at the non-waiver trade deadline. In fact the Dodgers have been heavily scouting the Brewers recently, per Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
Knobler mentions Francisco Rodriguez as a prime target, but also notes the Brewers are willing to shop John Axford and Michael Gonzalez as well. This is not much different than what Knobler reported on July 9, and with nine days left before the July 31 trade deadline the intensity of rumors will only increase.
But this passes the sniff test, because the Dodgers seemingly always go after relief pitchers in season under general manager Ned Colletti. And if there is closing experience - as is the case with Rodriguez (294 career saves), Axford (106 saves) and Gonzalez (56 saves) - Colletti is even more interested.
Here are the relief pitchers acquired via trade midseason by Colletti, and their career save totals at the time of the trade:
- 2012: Randy Choate (six), Brandon League (54)
- 2011: none
- 2010: Octavio Dotel (104)
- 2009: George Sherrill (55)
- 2008: none
- 2007: Scott Proctor (one)
- 2006: Elmer Dessens (five)
In three of the last four seasons Colletti has traded for an experienced closer at the trade deadline, and will likely do so again this season. Colletti was in Washington D.C. and told reporters he is focused on acquiring relief pitching this trade season, per both Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times and Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
This is before even considering what's in store for Carlos Marmol, he of the 117 career saves and currently pitching for Double-A Chattanooga.
Without knowing the exact deals being discussed, it's hard to judge a trade. Especially if the Dodgers aren't just looking at relievers. Perhaps they are scouting the Brewers in hopes of luring third baseman Aramis Ramirez as well, though his current stint on the disabled list does cloud matters.
If we're just talking deals for a single reliever, it's hard to imagine the Dodgers are giving up any of their top prospects. Depending on the deal, expect next tier pitchers like Duke von Schamann, Ross Stripling to be mentioned, as well as others like Rob Rasmussen or Garrett Gould. Perhaps the Dodgers will try to acquire more international slot money as well, depending on the trade partner.
But the Dodgers will likely get a relief pitcher. It's our job over the next nine days worth of rumors and (mis)information to determine what is real and what is not.