According to Mark Saxon from ESPN Los Angeles, the Dodgers reportedly are expected to pursue Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon, 33, is owed the remainder of his $13 million in 2014 and then $13 million in 2015, with an attainable vesting option for 2016 if he reaches 55 games finished in 2015 or 100 between 2014 and 2015. Despite his velocity dipping once again in 2014, Papelbon has a 1.21 ERA with a 0.857 WHIP and 22 saves.
Analysis: The Dodgers have not been afraid to go all-in the last few seasons, taking on big contract after big contract. With a glut of high-priced outfielders and super-propsect Joc Pederson murdering the Pacific Coast League, the Phillies likely could aim for a player like Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp in return which would help the Dodgers alleviate some salary concerns of their own while making room for Pederson.
In my opinion, a trade like that could be potentially disastrous for the Phillies: Ethier makes between $17 and $18 million a year through 2018 while Kemp makes $21 to $21.5 million per year through 2019. The Phillies would likely rather eat part of Papelbon’s contract instead in an attempt to obtain a Major League-ready prospect. Sorry Phillies fans, there’s no way they can pry Pederson out of their hands in a deal involving Papelbon.
However, a Papelbon for Ethier or Papelbon for Kemp deal could be the framework for a much larger mega trade that the Dodgers have shown an affinity for in the past, whether it was the deal that netted them Nomar Garciaparra or the Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez deal. Could Papelbon and Lee for Kemp and a handful of prospects make sense? It sure could – it would give the Phillies some financial relief without having to kick in a whole lot of money because it would be offset by Kemp’s mega deal, which is still less than Lee’s. Something interesting to think about.