8/18/2014 5:24 P.M. ET
Colletti looking to make waiver deals to boost Dodgers
General manager eyes reliever, power bench bat to add depth for postseason run
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are trying to make waiver deals for a reliever and power bat off the bench. If general manager Ned Colletti's track record in August is an indication, it's likely to happen.
"We're always looking to make the team better, even if it's a slight upgrade," Colletti said. "After the All-Star break, players get tired, they get hurt, they get mentally tired.
"Adding a player in July and August to a contending team sends a message into the room that we appreciate what they've done and we're all on the same page to make us as good as we can get. It can give the club a burst of energy and focus. I think it's important, which is why we've done it every year but one."
The degree of difficulty to trade after July 31 increases because players now must pass through recallable waivers. Many players are claimed by clubs just to prevent the player getting to another club. But Colletti and his team have improved the roster nearly every August with acquisitions ranging from Hall of Famer Greg Maddux to key pieces like Marlon Anderson, Ronnie Belliard and Jon Garland.
"We don't stop scouting after July 31, there's just fewer choices," Colletti said. "Especially this year. And we're 29th in line for an American League player and 15th for a National League player [waiver claims are granted by reverse order of the claiming club's current winning percentage]."
Nonetheless, already this month Colletti has shored up the suddenly vulnerable starting rotation with Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia, who have made three solid starts. Those were triggered by injuries to Josh Beckett and Hyun-Jin Ryu, as well as creeping concern over Zack Greinke's elbow.
The Dodgers didn't have anybody at Triple-A ready to be a starter in a pennant race. The one most likely for that role, Stephen Fife, underwent Tommy John surgery last week.
With Chris Perez, Paco Rodriguez and Paul Maholm on the disabled list, Colletti remains eager to add another reliever, and a power bench bat.
As the club showed at the July 31 deadline, there doesn't seem to be an appetite from years past to take on huge contracts. And there definitely is no willingness to part with the few can't-miss prospects in the rebuilding farm system.
The deals the Dodgers have made haven't cost any of their trio of untouchable prospects -- Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias. In fact, over Colletti's Augusts, nearly every "prospect" he dealt away for proven players has faded from memory without making an impact elsewhere.
The only still-solid prospects he's parted with were pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa in the 2012 Boston blockbuster. That was the waiver deal of all waiver deals, with the Dodgers acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, an injured Carl Crawford and Nick Punto, along with nearly a quarter billion dollars of salary commitment.
It came at a time when the farm system was down and new ownership wanted badly to put a fresh stamp on a team bought out of bankruptcy.
"That trade brought life and freshness and instilled credibility in the franchise," Colletti said. "It was really a statement deal. For the most part, the bigger deals come in July, and in August you look to shore up a weakness. You usually can't change the dynamics as dramatically, but you can change."
Colletti's waiver acquisitions after July 31
• Infielder Marlon Anderson from Philadelphia for pitcher Jhonny Nunez.
• Infielder Mark Sweeney from San Francisco for infielder Travis Denker.
• Pitcher Greg Maddux from San Diego for pitchers Eduardo Perez and Michael Watt.
• Infielder Ronnie Belliard from Washington for pitchers Luis Garcia and Victor Garate.
• Pitcher Jon Garland from Arizona for infielder Tony Abreu.
• Infielder Jim Thome from White Sox for infielder Justin Fuller.
• Pitcher Joe Blanton from Philadelphia for pitcher Ryan O'Sullivan.
• First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford, infielder Nick Punto for first baseman James Loney, pitcher Allen Webster, pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, infielder Ivan DeJesus and outfielder Jerry Sands.
• Infielder Michael Young from Philadelphia for pitcher Rob Rasmussen.
• Pitcher Roberto Hernandez from Philadelphia for infielder Jesmuel Valentin and a player to be named.
• Pitcher Kevin Correia from Minnesota for a player to be named.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.