ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports the Dodgers are expected to pursue Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon as the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
The Dodgers might not be the clearest fit on the surface for Papelbon's services as they currently have a closer in Kenley Jansen. Jansen is 1-3 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP to go along with 27 saves for the NL West leading Dodgers. The 26-year-old closer could move back to his setup role which he fared well in during the 2010 and 2011 seasons putting up a 0.67 ERA in 25 games in 2010 and a 2.85 ERA in 51 games in 2011.
Moving Jansen to a setup role would be wise of the Dodgers as their bullpen needs some assistance. Right-handers Brian Wilson and Chris Perez are struggling mightily. Perez, a former All Star closer with the Cleveland Indians, is 0-3 with a 4.54 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Brian Wilson, who was also an All Star closer but with the San Francisco Giants, is having a worse go of it this season with a 1-3 record to go along with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP.
Papelbon, 33, made headlines last week when he said he wanted out of Philadelphia. He told reporters, "Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That's mind-boggling to me. I think that's a no-brainer (to want to leave)." One local reporter asked Papelbon, 'So you'd like to be pitching for a contender later this month?' to which the closer responded. “Of course, man. What kind of question is that?”
But there's that no-trade clause Papelbon has, right? Well, that apparently won't be an issue as he won't let that stand in the way of him pitching for a contender this season.
You can't knock Papelbon's on-field performance this season. He is 2-1 with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP with 22 saves to just two blown saves. Papelbon has put up All-Star numbers but got edged out due to a lot of pitching depth in the National League this season.
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