Well, that didn’t take long.
Ken Rosenthal sent this tweet out a few hours ago, obviously intriguing Dustin at the thought of Miguel Vargas jumping to the majors already. He immediately put together the lineup he was envisioning should the 22-year-old Vargas get the call.
Instead (for now), we have this.
That’s less of a trade and more of just getting ahead on signing a guy who was about to be a free agent.
Indeed it is that Trayce Thompson, the former Dodger from the 2016 and 2017 seasons and, of course, brother to NBA Champion (again) Klay Thompson. Amazingly, Thompson played in just 107 games with 317 PAs during that stretch, which sure seemed like a lot less than I would have assumed if you asked me to name it off the top of my head. He slashed .207/.287/.407/.694 during his first run in Los Angeles, with much of the production coming in the first half of 2016 after arriving in a three-team deal that sent Micah Johnson and another possible future Dodger reboot Frankie Montas to Los Angeles, Jose Peraza, Brandon Dixon and Scott Schebler to the Reds, and Todd Frazier to the White Sox.
Since he was with the Dodgers, Thompson has had a pretty wild run as he has technically spent time with eight other franchises including the Yankees (for 2 days), Athletics (for 14 days), the White Sox (a few months), the Guardians (most of 2019), the Diamondbacks (technically 2020 and a few games in 2021), the Cubs (the rest of 2021), the Padres (a few months this season) and finally the Tigers since May 19. During all that time, he’s slashed .135/.209/.282/.491 in 188 PAs for the A’s, White Sox, Cubs and Padres while playing mostly … right field.
With MLB’s pitcher limit of 13 set to finally begin on Monday, the 14 on the Dodgers staff means someone else is needed. As of now the other 40-man options include Jacob Amaya, Eddys Leonard, Jorbit Vivas and James Outman with Edwin Rios and Kevin Pillar out for the foreseeable future/the season.
The Dodgers were going to need another position player on the roster for tomorrow’s game and there weren’t a ton of obvious options on the 40-man roster as it stands right now. Add in Mookie Betts injury looking like it will be a few weeks, and this is the direction they decided to go.
This is clearly a very temporary solution to the current roster issue, with the Dodgers seeing Thompson slashing .305/.365/.721/1.086 in 170 PAs for Triple-A El Paso and Toledo, and figuring why not. While the numbers from the majors look and are pretty rough, he had a solid 15 games (I know that’s an incredibly small sample) in the majors for the Cubs last season and was alright in Triple-A Iowa last season. Most of the struggles came for the Dodgers in 2017 and the White Sox in 2018 to really drag those totals down, with Thompson recovering from back fractures sustained in 2016 for at least some of that time.
If the plan is, as Rosenthal said in his tweet, to platoon Alvarez and Thompson for a few weeks, who knows exactly how much of the 31-year-old Thompson’s right-handed bat you will see. In his career, he’s .218/.283/.445/.728 against lefties with a wRC+ of 93 that is a bit better than his 77 against right-handed pitchers. Alvarez has 1 career PA in the majors against lefties, so I would imagine his .225/.296/.315/.611 and 71 w RC+ in 98 PAs against righties could be worse overall.
It seems as though an outfield of Gavin Lux, Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor may be the preference, but Lux’s .196/.281.270/.552 and 59 wRC+in 167 PAs against lefties in the majors isn’t exactly ideal.
Anyway, the Dodgers’ bats need to get going overall, and that should start tomorrow as they begin a three-game series in Cincinnati against the Reds (23-43, last in the NL Central and 14th in the NL).