By inserting themselves in the Reds' willingness to trade Todd Frazier, but not wanting Frazier for themselves — with Justin Turner already at the position, and a move to regular second base duty not really feasible at this point — the Dodgers were able to swap prospects and reshape some of their 40-man roster depth.
Frankie Montas, who turns 23 in March, made his major league debut in September with the White Sox, putting up a 4.80 ERA in 15 innings, with 20 strikeouts and nine walks. The 6'2 right-hander from the Dominican Republic had a 2.97 ERA in 23 starts for Double-A Birmingham, with 108 strikeouts and 48 walks in 112 innings, with just three home runs allowed.
He was rated as the No. 17 prospect in the Southern League in October by Baseball America, sitting in the high 90s while frequently hitting 100 mph. Though Matt Eddy noted, "Montas’ lack of a reliable secondary pitch, when combined with his long, segmented arm action and sloppy physique led to frequent reliever mentions from evaluators."
Frankie Montas has an extreme over the top delivery. Change has decent sideways movement compared to his 4-seam. At least a really good RP.— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) December 16, 2015
At the very least, the Dodgers have a number of starting pitchers on the 40-man roster. Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood are expected to be joined, officially today or tomorrow, by Hisashi Iwakuma in the major league rotation. That leaves Mike Bolsinger, Joe Wieland, Zach Lee, Jose De Leon, Jharel Cotton, Ross Stripling and Montas, plus Julio Urias — not on the 40-man — also expected to have a spot in the Triple-A Oklahoma City rotation.
In other words, either a pitcher or two is moving to the bullpen, or potentially to another team at some point in a trade.
Trayce Thompson turns 25 in March, and hit .295/.363/.533 with five home runs and 16 extra-base hits in 44 games in his first major league action with Chicago in 2015. The right-hander hit .260/.304/.441 with 13 home runs and 23 doubles in 104 games for Triple-A Charlotte last season.
The value of Thompson is as a center fielder, whether he platoons with Joc Pederson or is a backup. Thompson plays all over the outfield, with 80 percent of his minor league starts in center.
Thompson was the second-round pick of the White Sox in 2009 out of Santa Margarita High School in Rancho Santa Margarita.
Micah Johnson has played exclusively second base in the majors and minors. The left-handed hitter, who turns 25 on Friday, hit .315/.375/.466 in 78 games in a repeat year in Triple-A Charlotte in 2015, then hit .230/.306/.270 in his first 36 games in the majors.
In the majors and minors combined in 2015, Johnson hit .300/.366/.455 against right-handed pitching and .287/.347/.346 against lefties.
Speed is Johnson's game, peaking with 84 steals in 131 games across two Class-A levels (plus five Double-A games) in 2013. He stole 28 bases in Charlotte in 2015, and in 143 career games in Triple-A swiped 40 bases in 53 attempts (75.5 percent).
Johnson, who was drafted by Chicago in the ninth round in 2012 out of Indiana University, stole three bases in five attempts for the White Sox.
Evaluators on Dodgers' return: Trayce Thompson, athlete (like brother Klay). Micah Johnson ++ runner and makeup. Frankie Montas ++ fastball.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 16, 2015
Johnson has 67 days of major league service time and two option years remaining. Thompson has 63 days of service time and one option year remaining. Montas has 35 days of service time, and two option years left.
At the very least this gives the Dodgers a little more flexibility with the current roster, whether it means more trades coming or whether it is mixing these players in with the current roster at some point in 2016.