It’s Now Or Never For Trayce Thompson

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It’s hard to imagine outfielder Trayce Thompson making the Dodger’s opening day roster. Other players such as Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Andrew Toles, and perhaps even Matt Kemp stand in Thompson’s way. Those guys appear to have the upper hand. Thompson would have to really impress the Dodger brass in order to leap frog over the above mentioned players. I suppose it’s possible for Trayce but his competition is stiff. Making his situation more difficult is that he’s out of options. If he doesn’t make the opening day squad then he could be designated for assignment.

Thompson was originally acquired as part of the Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler deal with the White Sox and Reds back in December of 2015. The package also included Micah Johnson and Frankie Montas. Both of those players are no longer with the organization. At the time Thompson was considered an intriguing young toolsy prospect with potential. Unfortunately injuries have ravaged his career.

In 2015 Thompson slashed .295/.363/.533 with 5 home runs and a 147 OPS+ in 135 plate appearances for the White Sox. In the beginning it looked like the trade had worked out well for the Dodgers. Thompson posted a .955 OPS in the month of May while crushing 7 home runs through the season’s first few weeks. He slashed .261/.306/.391/ in April and then .270/.352/.603 in the month of the May. He was playing well until a major back injury set him back.

http://gty.im/847073602

He fractured two vertebrae in his lower back which landed him on the disabled list by mid-summer. He was unable to return for the rest of the season. It was super sad to see such a young talented player suffer such a catastrophic injury.

After batting just .207 in June and .143 in July Thompson called it a season. Overall he finished with a .225/.302/.436 line with 13 home runs and a 96 OPS+ in 262 plate appearances. Thompson finished with 26 walks, 66 strikeouts and a .738 OPS in 80 games.

He returned in 2017, but he was never the same. He played in just 27 games and batted .122 (6 for 49) with one home run in just 55 plate appearances. After playing 71 games in the field in 2016, Thompson was limited to only 19 games at all three outfield spots. Eventually he was sent back to Oklahoma City where he stayed for the rest of the season.

Thompson is 26-years old. He’s young enough to overcome his terrible back injury. The terrifying injury would have not only ended most other player’s careers, but possibly even prevent someone from walking. Thompson is resilient and tenacious. He appears to be ready to return and play for an outfield spot for the Dodgers this spring. We’ll see if the talent is still there, because his heart certainly is. Even if his ceiling is just as a fourth or fifth outfielder, Thompson will need to make an impression this spring in order to make the roster. It’s now or never for Trayce.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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45 thoughts on “It’s Now Or Never For Trayce Thompson

  1. As was already said, Thompson will have to have a monster camp and exhibition season to stick on the roster. Toles and Kemp, if they keep him, seem the likely candidates.

  2. I said that in the last post. Thompson is out of options. He will need a very huge spring to even garner consideration. I like the guy, but he might just have too much to over come. Interesting story on Dodger Blue saying part of the hold up in possibly re-signing Darvish is that some in the ownership group are concerned because of his WS meltdown. I would be too. That’s why I would rather see someone like Archer or Arietta as a Dodger.

  3. Interesting stuff on Twitter as usual. The twit GM’s are all advocating the Dodgers bringing back Greinke. Now, if they are not going to go over the luxury threshold to sign Darvish, why would they do it for Greinke? Makes no sense. Especially since the back end of his contract pays him 50 million dollars after he is retired. Moron alert! Some of the stuff posted on there is unbelievable. Hard for me to read a lot of those posts because there are so many pro FAZers on there. And everyone here knows how I feel about FAZ…..

      1. Are there many anywhere?

        There are some somewhere.

        They are out there, probably not where you park.

        I’m not anti-FAZ, I just call it as I see it. They’ve made MANY moves that just didn’t work, and some moves that have. In my opinion they haven’t completely f’d it up. Yet.

        1. In all fairness beyond a handful here and that therapy guy, I don’t know of many. There’s one or two posting occasionally on true blue.

      2. Actually there are a lot on the Dodger site itself. Not the majority maybe but like me they question a lot of his so called moves. He has still never signed a significant impact free agent, and don’t say Turner, Jansen and Hill. They all came back on team friendly contracts. His mid season trades are very questionable. At least in my eyes. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people accept the FAZonian way of player evaluation and some do not. They inherited a good team. In my estimation they have made a few good moves, a boatload of bad ones, and have not gotten to the promised land. Oh yeah, they got to the World Series and were outplayed. I would have felt a little better if they had retained Morrow, but that is not their MO especially with this luxury tax thing. I am of the school that starters should be able to at least go 6 innings. They only had one starter who qualified for the ERA title. Kershaw. I think their formula burns up a bullpen and makes them weak down the stretch. They got 2 outfielders in trades over the last couple of years and both were huge busts. McBrittle, Quagmire, everyone considered those brilliant moves. Not me. I still think they wasted a lot of money on two mediocre guys when they could have gotten 1 quality starter with that money. Obviously that is just my opinion. They have kept most of their prospects, but we all know how I feel about prospects. Give me a proven MLB player any time. They are like a scared rabbit when it comes to making the big move. They did surprise me when they went and got Darvish. But since it has been business as usual. Quantity, not quality. A bunch of 2nd tier players to stock AAA and we will see the 10 day DL express again this year. Not really my kind of baseball. Their best trades were getting Taylor and acquiring Wood. They got quantity when they traded Gordon. I disliked Hatcher, think Barnes is serviceable, Hernandez is versatile, but I do not like his overall play. They flipped Heaney for Kendrick. And Hill, well Hill is so over rated it is not funny.

        1. I was, for the record, never wondering if you were pro or con Michael.

          Never go to the official site comment/forum section. Don’t find the discourse informative or stimulating.

  4. I like Thompson too, but I don’t think the Dodgers did him any favors, by having him up at the major league level last year, for that short time.

    Because he was obviously not ready to hit in the majors, after being out with that back injury, for most of the year before.

    Because Trayce looked so bad in his at bats at the major league level last year, he will have to have a better spring then Taylor did, to try to erase those bad at bats, from people’s minds.

    And Taylor was only completing against Kike, and Trayce is completing with, more then only one player.

    Trayce also struggled in AAA last year, so it wasn’t only his bad at bats at the major league level that Trayce had, so Trayce has his work cut out for himself, this year.

    And if Kemp stays with the team, the Dodgers won’t need a right hand power bat as badly, as they once did.

    I think Michael’s prediction of what will probably happen with Trayce is right on, since Trayce has no options left.

  5. There is a rumor floating in White Sox land that the Sox might pursue Kemp. Not sure how he fits in there. But at this point it is only a rumor.

    1. Again, I don’t think the team acquiring Kemp will be interested so much in him fitting in, but in what else they can get with him.

      1. I agree Scott. I also think it is interesting that concern over Darvish’s series meltdown by some in the ownership is one of the factors in whether or not they sign him.

  6. Heyman on Darvish and Kemp:

    There are “hurdles” to a potential Yu Darvish return, as Dodgers people have admitted. One obvious hurdle is that they aren’t far enough under the luxury tax threshold to allow them to stay under with a Darvish signing. But another hurdle is said to be some ambivalence by at least some on the subject from ownership following Darvish’s rough World Series, according to sources. So while Darvish has said he’d be interested in a return – and some Dodgers people seem to love him – it still seems like other teams make more sense.

    The Matt Kemp market is a tough one, rivals say. He didn’t help himself by not getting along in Atlanta, though he penned a piece for the Players Tribune suggesting he would turn over a new leaf. He may need to write a new installment wherever he lands. There’s no probability the Dodgers will keep him, as he didn’t take part in the team’s fanfest in anticipation of him not staying around, and they may need to offer good prospects to find someone to take him.

    1. That’s funny you say he did not get along because all I ever read was that he was a good team mate over there. Never read a single story about Matt being a problem. I think a lot of that is just baseball media hype. I know he had problems with Puig the last time he was here, but none of his Dodger team mates said he was a cancer. If he is so bad, why do Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen rave about having him back? Someone is pulling someone’s leg. My new gravitar is Chesty Puller. He is saying….We’re surrounded. That simplifies our problem…….guy was tough as nails.

      1. I say nothing. I know nothing.

        This is all from a guy paid to report on baseball.

        That said, I’ve read a couple of places that he wasn’t well liked in Atlanta.

        1. I get it. But I also believe some writers have an agenda. They know of the prior problems and just go from there without really checking. Here is a true fact, neither Frank Robinson nor Richie Allen were well liked when they were Dodgers. Walter Alston despised Robinson. Allen was just not a very friendly guy. Walt thought Robinson was questioning his managing and trying to undermine his position. Remember, in those days it was all one year contracts. Garvey was not well liked either and he and Don Sutton had a running feud. Most of the A’s in the 70’s disliked each other a bunch, but they won championships.

          1. White Sox designated hitters combined to slash .222/.286/.437 in 2017. Last year in his first 170 at bats or so, Matt Kemp slashed in the neighborhood of .345/.375/.600. First half splits were .293/.340/.486. You know how he ended as the season wore on. Now I’m not a guy paid to report on baseball, and I admittedly don’t think as clearly as I usta did, but it seems obvious to me the man can still hit and a good plan to maintain that first slash line might be to keep his legs as fresh as possible through September. Let’s see…… how to accomplish that?………..

          2. “True fact”?!?!? As opposed to those facts that are false?

            Who cares about Frank Robinson or Richie Allen? Who cares about friendliness or questioning managers?

            Stop changing the subject and creating false narratives.

            Here’s another “true fact”:
            San Diego and Atlanta couldn’t wait to get rid of. Could. Not. Wait. Took literally NOTHING in return.

            If that’s a problem you want to bend over backwards to overlook. Great. Lemme remind you of something though:
            I don’t remember that ever occurring with Garvey, Sutton, or, sadly, Mike Trout.

          3. I was using those guys as an example. Garvey and Sutton had a big fight in the Dodger clubhouse, so that is well known. How in the hell do you know that SD and ATL could not wait to get rid of the guy? You work for either team? NO you are just opining. You have no clue what went on in those club houses. Sometimes that fat head of your over takes your common sense. Neither you or anyone else on this site knows why they traded Kemp. And despite what you THINK, the guy can still hit.

          4. Is this a joke?

            How do I know that Atlanta and San Diego “could not wait to get rid of the guy?”

            Um, because they couldn’t! San Diego traded him for a dead body, and Atlanta traded him for dead bodies! They didn’t wait for a better offer, the didn’t wait to see if Kemp’s attitude/diet or workout regiment changed, they took the corpses and ran.

            Sometimes history is real.

          5. What? Nothing? Au contraries Blutavious. They got 2 of FAZ’s favorite pitchers and another guy, the likes of which is a well known favorite of the Fried Zaidi Achavah, utility dude Chuck Culberson. Good trade.

            As for true facts – you ever heard of alternative facts? They’re everywhere these days.

  7. I know some were concerned with Cody having problems with curves on his hands or below, because of the World Series.

    But Cody’s slugging percentage against curves was in the 800s, and that was second in all of baseball, at the end of August, and I don’t think his numbers went down that much, if they even did, after the end of August.

    I am not concerned, because that is what the Giants started throwing Cody when he first came up, and Cody adjusted to this quickly.

    I still think he was just trying to do to much, and that is why he looked so bad, especially in that seventh game.

    But if you look at Cody’s splits last year, he had very consistent splits throughout the season, and I do think he will have an even better season this year, even if it is easier to predict, that his numbers will go down, in his sophomore year.

    And I am hoping Kemp stays with the team, to not only protect Cody in the line up, because we didn’t get to see Kemp after he had came back offensively, in the second half of the 2014 season, after he had dealt with injuries, in the prior two years.

  8. Ok that’s it. We don’t need to resign Utley, just get him to make a speech, or sign him on condition that he makes a speech!

    1. YF

      I love Chase too, but I think this year we should go with one of our young leftie hitting infielders, that we have.

      We have a guy at AAA, and we also picked up a leftie hitting infielder, in that trade.

      Because Chase gets to worn out at the end of the season, and Roberts is going to play him in the post season.

      Chase does have good pinch hit at bats, to work walks, but he hasn’t had a hit in the post season, for the last three years.

      And Chase made an error on a ball, that was hit right at him, that he should have had, in game two of the World Series, and that was the only run Hill gave up, in game two.

      And that really wasn’t an earned run.

      The official scorer should have gave Chase an error on that misplay!

      And Roberts would have never took Hill out of that game so early, if that run never scored.

      Because it would still have been a scoreless game, if Chase had made that play.

      1. MJ, according to Roster Resource the Dodgers have 3 LH second basemen in the organization. The following is who they are, how old they are, and their MILB ranking last year:

        Jake Peter, 25, 514
        Angelo Mora, 25, 458
        Jeremy Arocha, 19, NR

        Not sure you would call that lh hitting depth at that position. We got plenty of rh options there, but we know how attached FAZ are to platoons.

        I’ll post the link separately for obvious reasons.

        1. Badger Thanks!

          I was thinking about Jake Peters, but I thought we had another infielder in AAA, that hit leftie, too.

          But I must be wrong about a second infielder.

  9. Not sure what is going on this morning but I posted the Roster Resource link, it hasn’t shown up for me, so I went to repost it and got a “duplicate post” message. I don’t see it, but, I suppose it could be there, or where it often ends up – in moderation. Guess I’ll just wait and see.

  10. Baseball Prospectus has their 101 Prospect list:

    21. Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    25. Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
    41. Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    54. Keibert Ruiz, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
    69. Dustin May, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    73. Yusniel Diaz, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
    86. Mitch White, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

    That’s 3 International Signings.

    Old friend:
    43. Willie Calhoun, DH, Texas Rangers

      1. Bobby

        I was surprised to see him higher then White, because in Baseball America, White was rated higher then Alvarez.

        And I don’t think I saw May in Baseball America’s, top 100.

      1. Who? Keith Law?

        Outside his top 100, but 2nd in the Ranger system.

        Willie Calhoun, who was acquired in the trade that sent Yu Darvish to L.A., can hit and has surprising power for his size, but he has no position and might have to DH, as he’s about a 40 defender in left field. He’s also about 5-foot-6, not his listed 5-foot-8, and the recent history of hitters that short who can’t run is very limited, with virtually none hitting for power.

        1. Bluto

          Thanks!

          Your right, most short people are quick, especially in the first 50 yards.

          There have been shorter players that have had power, like Joe Morgan, and everyone seems to be hitting HRs in the majors, right now.

          But Morgon had the combo of speed and power, if that is what you meant.

          But I bet there have not been a lot, like you said.

          1. I said or researched NONE OF THAT.

            It was all as you requested. The thoughts and rankings of Keith Law from ESPN.

          2. “Calhoun is one of the best hitters in the minors with a chance to hit for power and average.

            He’s short, but he’s strong with plus productive power and an aggressive-but-compact swing that combines contact and power. He steps into the batter’s box looking to cause damage, but he manages to do so while generate loads of contact–he struck out just 11 percent of the time this season.

            The concern for Calhoun has always been where will he play. Since he became a Ranger, he’s played just two games at second base. He’s better in left field. He’s below-average there, but there’s hope he can be a playable left fielder with adequate reads, but his well-below-average speed limits his range.”

            I keep hearing he has below average speed, but last year he had 6 triples. The outfielder must have fallen down. 6 times.

            You know who didn’t have 6 triples last year? Logan Forsythe. He had none. Calhoun also stole more bases last year than Forsythe. He had more doubles too. But Forsythe is 6’1”. We sign a Franklin Gutierrez, and his 0.76 RF, but Calhoun is not good enough to play defense for us. I hope he tears it up and wins ROY in ‘18.

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