Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that "there are strong indications" that the Dodgers have been given the go-ahead from owner Frank McCourt to add to the team payroll (if necessary) at the trade deadline. We heard earlier today that the Dodgers have $2-3MM "to play with" in terms of adding salary, but it's unknown as to whether or not this additional bump can account for an acquisition that doesn't move another major-league salary off of the roster.
Jackson lists several starters and relievers whom the Dodgers have shown some degree of interest in: Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Dan Haren, Ted Lilly, Paul Maholm, Roy Oswalt and Ben Sheets. Jackson notes that Lilly and Maholm are both around the bottom of Los Angeles' wish list, and he notes the major payroll increases that would be necessary if Oswalt or Haren were acquired. Given McCourt's ongoing financial issues stemming from his divorce, it's safe to presume that whatever payroll increase the owner agrees to might be a short-term one for the rest of this season, rather than a multi-year commitment to a Haren or an Oswalt.
In terms of what prospects the Dodgers would have to give up to acquire any of these pitchers, Jackson says that shortstop Dee Gordon and righties Ethan Martin and Chris Withrow (the top position and pitching prospects, respectively, in the L.A. system) "are unlikely" to be dealt. Aaron Miller, however, is singled out as being "a hot commodity" apart from some other minor-leaguers that are attracting the interest of other teams. Miller, a southpaw taken 36th overall in the 2009 amateur draft, has a 3.10 ERA and a 9.9 K/9 ratio in just over a year as a professional and is currently pitching at Double-A.
While GM Ned Colletti says that "pitching continues to be our priority," he also noted that the Dodgers might look to acquire an outfielder in the wake of injuries to Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson. Fanhouse.com's Ed Price reports (via Twitter) that the Rays have "some interest" in Dodgers right-hander James McDonald and speculates that B.J. Upton could be a potential trade target if Los Angeles really wants to make a splash in its outfield. Obviously, given that the Rays have said that they aren't "selling low" on Upton, L.A. would need to add much more than just McDonald to the trade package.