Dodgers: It’s Do or Die For Trayce Thompson’s LA Career

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06: Trayce Thompson
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06: Trayce Thompson /

The Dodgers and Trayce Thompson are entering what could be their final spring training together.  Thompson is out of options, so this is a make or break spring for him.

The Dodgers acquired Trayce Thompson in a complicated three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox.  When Thompson first arrived, not much was known about him, other than the fact that he was the brother of Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson.  Since arriving in LA, his Dodger career has been a mixed bag.

In 2016, Trayce had an interesting season for the Dodgers.  While he hit below .230, Thompson mashed thirteen home runs in a little over two hundred at bats.  He also flashed the ability to play all three outfield spots and looked like at worse he could be a decent backup outfielder who could play centerfield.

Thompson suffered a fracture in his back during the 2016 season and has been troubled ever since.  Last season he only had 49 at-bats with the Dodgers and hit only one home run with a .122 batting average.  The minor leagues were just as cruel to him as he posted a .212 average despite hitting nine home runs for the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

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Trayce Thompson’s minor league season last year was the perfect example of what the Dodgers can come to expect from Trayce.  He has power and even decent speed to steal and play centerfield, but he will not hit for a good average.  Trayce will also strike out a lot and does not get on base at a high rate.  Still, he has shown enough glimpses of hope that there is still hope he can be a solid player off the bench for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will give Thompson a long look this spring because he is out of options.  The team can try and sneak him through waivers to the minor leagues, but there is a good chance that another team will take a flier on him.  One thing working in Thompson’s favor is that Andrew Toles is coming off of major knee surgery.  The Dodgers could start Toles out in Triple-A to ease him back in, and this would open up a potential roster spot for Thompson.

Unless Alex Verdugo impresses in spring training, the Dodgers will most likely start him out in Triple-A as well to get him playing time every day.  There is no point in keeping a talented 21-year-old prospect on the bench when he could start in Triple-A every day and be ready to come up in the event of an injury.  If Toles and Verdugo are optioned to the minor leagues to begin the season, then there is a small chance the Dodgers could keep Thompson on the opening day roster.

The one factor working against Trayce is that the Dodgers are going to give Matt Kemp an even longer look this spring to see if he has anything left in the tank.  If Kemp were released or traded, then that would inject life into Trayce Thompson’s opening day roster bid, but the Dodgers are not finding any takers for Matt Kemp.

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In all likelihood, we are looking at the end of Trayce Thompson’s time as a Dodger, but there is still a small chance he can do enough this spring to make the opening day roster.  Being out of options helps his chances, so perhaps it’s not yet time to wake up from the dream of having Klay Thompson on the Lakers and Trayce on the Dodgers.