The Dodgers added some outfield depth Monday, announcing agreement with the Tigers on a deal that sends Trayce Thompson to Los Angeles in exchange for cash considerations. It’l be the second stint in L.A. for the 31-year-old.
Thompson had not been on the Detroit 40-man roster, having signed a minor league contract a month ago. He won’t immediately occupy a 40-man spot with Los Angeles either, although it seems likely the Dodgers will add him to the big league club within the next few days. Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported this morning that L.A. was on the hunt for a right-handed hitting outfielder in the wake of Mookie Betts’ trip to the injured list. Thompson, it seems, will get the first crack in that role.
A former second-round pick of the White Sox, Thompson has appeared in parts of six big league seasons. That included a 2016-17 run in Dodger blue, as the club landed him from Chicago in a three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier from Cincinnati to the Sox. Thompson appeared in 107 games with Los Angeles over those two seasons, the biggest body of work he’s compiled with any of the five MLB clubs for which he’s suited up.
That includes a six-game stint with the division-rival Padres this season. Thompson didn’t produce during that cup of coffee in San Diego, but he’s absolutely mashed at the minors’ top level in 2022. Between San Diego’s and Detroit’s highest affiliates, he’s compiled a .305/.365/.721 line and blasted 17 home runs in 41 games. Thompson has struck out in 28.2% of his Triple-A plate appearances, but his massive impact from a power perspective was enough to convince the Dodgers front office to bring him back.
Swing-and-miss concerns have been a similar problem for Thompson at the major league level. He’s punched out in 28.6% of his 640 career plate appearances en route to a .205/.280/.397 line. He’s popped 26 homers and swiped 11 bases, but the subpar on-base numbers have relegated him more towards journeyman status in recent years. Thompson has unsurprisingly been better when holding the platoon advantage than against same-handed arms, but his .218/.283/.445 line against southpaws is still a bit below-average.
Thompson will be something of a stopgap option while Betts recovers, an unsurprising course of action for the organization to take. Rosenthal wrote this morning the team wasn’t looking to surrender notable young talent in any deal, reasoning they could take a bigger swing at an impact addition closer to the trade deadline if Betts misses an extended amount of time.
Juan Toribio of MLB.com first reported the Dodgers were nearing agreement on a deal to land Thompson. Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times confirmed there was a deal in place, while Cody Stavenhagen of the Athletic first reported the Tigers would receive cash in return.