It all just depends if the Los Angeles Dodgers believe. If they do, then Andrew Friedman might be able to view outfielder Trayce Thompson as a legitimate starting piece and avoid spending even more prospect capital/money at the trade deadline over the next week.
On June 20, the Dodgers sent cash to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Thompson, which was viewed as nothing more than a temporary depth move as the team was struggling over their past 17 games (they were 7-10 with losses against the Pirates and Guardians and were swept by the Giants). Additionally, Mookie Betts was injured and the outfield depth took a hit with AJ Pollock no longer in the picture.
However, Thompson has become a legitimate threat on offense as well as a reliable glove in left field (ignoring Monday’s gaffe…), especially in wake of Chris Taylor’s broken foot. And now the Dodgers own the second-best record in MLB (and best in the NL).
With that said, there are still needs for this team to fill at the deadline. Pitching is a must — both starters and relievers. But is there as much of a need for positional depth as many fans once wondered? At the very least, is a high-profile position player really needed?
Parting with Hanser Alberto and using Zach McKinstry’s options would obviously be smart … but is spending a ton for Juan Soto, Bryan Reynolds, Andrew Benintendi or other players of similar caliber necessary? Thompson is providing the exact relief the Dodgers need right now and has proven he can sustain the production.
Trayce Thompson may help Dodgers keep more assets at trade deadline
And with Klay Thompson attending home games to cheer on his brother? That star-power energy in the stands is changing the game for LA.
But seriously, Thompson (Trayce) has offered positive output on both sides of the ball (0.5 oWAR, 0.3 dWAR, 115 wRC+, 4 Defensive Runs Saved) in his 25 games with the Dodgers. He’s hitting .284/.360/.493 with 7 runs scored, 2 homers and 13 RBI. There’s no doubt the remainder of the star-studded Dodgers lineup is helping him out … but that’s exactly what it was designed to do: maximize the production of role players/less impactful starters.
Then again, Thompson’s struggled mightily against lefty pitchers, which is a big area the Dodgers need to improve. That won’t cost the team much at the trade deadline though assuming Thompson can hold down the fort against righties the rest of the way.
Dodgers fans are rightfully torn about chasing a guy like Soto. Why empty the farm when you have plenty of young talent coming up to potentially replace a number of guys who could leave in the offseason? Why disrupt the current status quo when there’s not really that much room to get better?
Thompson may have played a role in helping solve the conundrum for the front office. A less expensive lefty masher could be the missing piece on the position side of things, which would make the front office’s life a lot easier with all the dealings expected to go down before Aug. 2.