What does Dodgers-Trayce Thompson trade mean for LA?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 03: Trayce Thompson
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 03: Trayce Thompson /

On Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers conducted some housekeeping with Mookie Betts headed to the injured list and traded for former outfielder Trayce Thompson in a deal with the Detroit Tigers.

The Dodgers sent cash to Detroit in exchange for Thompson, who previously played in LA from 2016-2017. He began his career with the Chicago White Sox, landed with the Dodgers, and then bounced around to Oakland, back to Chicago, back to Chicago again with the Cubs, and most recently the San Diego Padres.

Back in May, Thompson elected free agency with the Padres, which eventually brought him to Detroit. His most recent MLB action with the Padres was quite bad across six games, but he’s been dominating Triple-A in 2022. Additionally, in 2021, he lit a fire under the Cubs in his 15-game stint, which featured six runs scored, four homers, nine RBI and two stolen bases. Pretty good.

The versatile defense (he can play all three outfield positions) was likely the reason LA made the move here. With Kevin Pillar out for the season after originally being signed to fill in during times like these with Mookie Betts on the shelf, the Dodgers need reinforcements.

Unfortunately, it was slim pickings, and they probably won’t get the needed offense out of this acquisition, but if Thompson is saving runs with his glove, it’ll be just as impactful.

In 107 previous games with the Dodgers, Thompson has hit .207/.287/.407 with 37 runs scored, 14 homers, 34 RBI and 5 stolen bases.

How does Trayce Thompson fit the Dodgers’ puzzle?

Manager Dave Roberts said Thompson will get reps in right field, ostensibly with Cody Bellinger remaining in center and Chris Taylor getting most of the time in left. Gavin Lux and Zach McKinstry will also see time against right-handed pitchers.

Regardless of the configuration, Betts’ loss for the time being will be a big one, as LA’s offense continues to crater. Bellinger and Taylor haven’t been providing what they’re capable of, while Justin Turner and Max Muncy have brought the infield production down as well.

Perhaps the hope is Thompson’s familiarity with LA will have him settle in fairly quickly. And when you factor in his 38 homers across his last 133 Triple-A games, maybe there is some offense there for him to capitalize on surrounded by some of the game’s best hitters.

If this doesn’t work out, there’s another veteran the Dodgers can consider.