Folks across Dodgertown who don’t quite understand the waiver wire process were buzzing with concern on Wednesday after learning that the Dodgers were gearing up for a potential fire sale by placing a total of five players on waivers.

In addition to workhorse pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, outfielder Manny Ramirez finally hit waivers as expected, and veterans Scott Podsednik, Casey Blake, and Jay Gibbons were also waived later in the afternoon, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.

For non-playoff contending squads, many players are waived the week before rosters expand on September 1, as teams look to possibly cut salary, gain prospects, and prepare to build their rosters and budgets heading into next season.

However, at the beginning of the day on Thursday, the Dodgers find themselves trailing only 5.5 games in the National League Wild Card race, and with 35 games still remaining to be played, the front office in Los Angeles is left wondering whether a playoff shot is realistic.

Teams around the league have until the end of the week to make potential claims, after which deals would need to be agreed upon by Tuesday afternoon to complete any transaction.

If by some chance Los Angeles climbs even further into contention by the beginning of next week, the Dodgers have the right to rescind the waivers, and retain all the players mentioned above, even if they are already claimed by another team.

Los Angeles has been busy talking to the Chicago White Sox about possible trade scenarios, and according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Ramirez has already told friends that he would waive his no-trade clause and approve a deal sending him to Chicago.

Nevertheless, since Manny’s return from the disabled list last Saturday, the Dodgers have seen a spark in their offense, which has been almost dormant since the All-Star break.

In the three games that Ramirez has been in the lineup since being recalled, Los Angeles has scored 18 runs, including seven home runs—a resurgence of power that has been lacking since the first month of the season.

Kuroda is in the final season of a three-year deal worth over $35 million, while Blake still has one additional year remaining on his three-year, $17 million contract with a club option for 2012.

Podsednik’s contract is valued at $1.75 million this year with an option for 2011, while Gibbons’ contract is setup only for the remainder of this season after being bought from Triple-A Albuquerque.

After finishing a series with the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon, the Dodgers will travel to Coors Field for a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies beginning Friday, then return to Dodger Stadium for a series with the defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.

Read more MLB news on