Spring Training for the Dodgers this year has been an interesting and exciting one. Many different story lines are taking place. From the questions about who will round out the bullpen, to the left-field quagmire, many questions remain unanswered. One question, in particular, may not be getting the attention it deserves. That would be, “what to do with Trayce Thompson”? Despite all the focus being on left-field, Trayce Thompson’s name has not come up much in that discussion. Indeed, you may be asking why Thompson’s name should be brought up as well. There are multiple reasons why. Let’s dissect them all.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 25, 2018
He Is Out Of Options
First and foremost Trayce Thompson is out of Minor League options. Because he lacks said options he cannot go down to the Minors without passing through waivers. By having to pass through waivers the Dodgers risk another team claiming him. Having an athletic 27-year-old that can play all three outfield positions is extremely beneficial to any club. Surely some ball club will take a chance on him if the Dodgers try to push him through waivers.
On the other hand, the Dodgers may feel clubs won’t have a need for him and may pass. Either way, pushing a younger player that has shown good abilities through waivers is risky. And it may be a risk the Dodgers are not willing to take.
He Is Finally Healthy
Nearly two years after a broken back crushed his 2016 season and stole away his strength, Thompson finally appears to be healthy again. Unfortunately he spent most of 2017 at AAA struggling mightily, posting a meager .212/.269/.363 triple-slash. Many reports still indicated that he was struggling with being 100%. So far this Spring Training he has looked good and healthy.
He Is Actually Having a Decent Spring
Despite hitting .320 so far this spring, Thompson faces stiff competition for outfield playing time. Matt Kemp, Andrew Toles, and Alex Verdugo are playing very well. And don’t forget Joc Pederson is still hanging around as well. Like we said, even though Thompson is playing quite well so far, he faces an uphill battle with plenty of other Dodgers doing better.
Alex Verdugo is likely going to open the year at AAA, as he has multiple options. The front office will want him to get regular at-bats. It is extremely likely that Kemp and Toles will take up the majority of left-field playing time. That leaves one extra spot for between Thompson and Pederson. Dodgers have a tough decision to make even though Joc has Minor League options available.
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