The Dodgers addressed their need for outfield depth on Monday, by trading for old friend Trayce Thompson, acquiring the veteran from the Tigers for cash considerations.
Thompson was on a minor league deal with Detroit, so the Dodgers will need to add him to the 40-man roster, though that’s an easy fix with the 60-day injured list beckoning for Walker Buehler, who isn’t expected back until September.
In Triple-A this season, Thompson hit .305/.365/721 with 17 home runs and 29 extra-base hits in 41 games between Toledo and El Paso, the latter an affiliate of the Padres, the organization he started the season with.
Thompson, 31, saw time in the majors this year with San Diego, playing six games with one hit in 14 at-bats. The Padres designated for assignment on May 10, and after clearing waivers Thompson elected free agency, signing with the Tigers on May 19.
Thompson was prepared to exercise an opt-out clause on his deal with Detroit, reported Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Instead, Thompson returns to the Dodgers, for whom he played in 2016-2017. He hit 13 home runs in half a season while playing all three outfield spots in 2016 before suffering a back injury that wiped out his season.
The Dodgers desperately needed another outfielder, especially with Mookie Betts out for at least two weeks with a broken rib. On Monday morning’s Leading Off with True Blue LA podcast, I discussed the possible internal call-up options for the team, though did not think of Thompson as an external option.
The club has started Eddy Alvarez and Hanser Alberto in right field this season. It was the first time at the position for Alvarez and the fourth as a professional for Alberto, and it showed in both cases with the infielders.
Thompson gives them a right-handed bat who can play all three outfield positions, something they had with Kevin Pillar, who suffered a shoulder fracture just four games in to his stint with his hometown team, requiring surgery that ended his season.
Thompson this season against left-handers is hitting .310/.375/.881 with seven home runs in 48 plate appearances, which includes six hitless at-bats against southpaws while in the majors.
Since getting claimed off waivers from the Dodgers by the Yankees in 2018, Thompson has played in the majors with the A’s, White Sox, Cubs, and Padres in parts of three major league seasons. During that time, Thompson has also played in the minors for Cleveland and Arizona.