When news first broke that the Dodgers were part of a three-team trade which included All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier, fans thought that the front office had finally made that big move. Dodgers fans assumed that if the Dodgers were involved in that type of trade, they would surely walk away with the best player in the whole deal.
It wasn’t long before the news broke that Todd Frazier would not be wearing Dodger blue anytime soon, but rather that the Dodgers had acquired even more young prospects than they already had. Fans were quick to get angry, exclaiming that the Dodgers had once again failed to pull the trigger on an All-Star caliber player who was clearly available. What Dodgers fans didn’t realize at the time is that the Dodgers may have actually done just that. In fact, the Dodgers may have actually received the best player of the entire trade; his name is Trayce Thompson.
Thompson was originally projected to start the season in the minors, which completely made sense at the time. The Dodgers outfield was extremely crowded with Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Guerrero, and Kiké Hernandez all vying for 3 total spots. However, a series of Dodgers injuries for Ethier, Van Slyke, and Guerrero led to the Dodgers giving Thompson an Opening Day roster spot. That spot didn’t figure to last long; just long enough to fill in until those players on the disabled list could recover.
However, Thompson has taken advantage of every minute of playing time that he has received, which seems to be growing by the day. In fact, Thompson has been playing so well that many people have wondered not only if he will stay on the roster for the long term, but if he has earned himself a starting position.
Just over a week ago, on May 9th, Thompson started off his hot streak by hitting a two-run home run against the Mets. The very next night he hit a walk-off home run as a pinch hitter. Of course, Roberts chose not to play him the next day and he only got one at bat, again as a pinch hitter, but he contributed again the following night with a hit, a walk, and two runs batted in. It appeared as though Thompson was ready to break out and all he needed was the playing time.
Fortunately, Thompson got the start last night in the first game of the Freeway Series against the Angels. Thompson finished the night 2-for-3 with 2 home runs, 1 walk, 3 runs batted in, and 3 runs scored. It may have been the game that he needed to keep himself in the lineup on a much more regular basis. In fact, it sounds like Roberts is starting to come around on the idea of him as a starter.
Dave Roberts says Trayce Thompson starts tomorrow in LF and is playing his way into the "everyday outfielder" conversation. #Dodgers
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 17, 2016
Trayce Thompson will start tomorrow, Dave Roberts says. Rejoice, fans.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) May 17, 2016
Either way one thing is certain: Thompson will not be going back to the minors anytime soon. If the Dodgers were out of options and Thompson was simply the odd man out then maybe it could happen. However, it’s much more realistic that a player like Charlie Culberson would be sent down. Even if multiple players come back from injuries I think Thompson is playing well enough to make the Dodgers even consider keeping him over some of the veterans. The future of the Dodgers could be here now and the only way that a player like Thompson will mature into the player we all want him to be is with regular playing time in the majors.