Dodgers News: Trayce Thompson (and LA) Appreciate Tigers Trading Him

A trade that didn’t have to happen and was supposed to be a temporary fix has turned into a longterm, beautiful success for Trayce Thompson and the Dodgers.

When Mookie Betts went down with a cracked rib in June, the Dodgers found themself in need of a good defensive outfielder with big-league experience to hold down the fort until Mookie returned.

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They turned to the Detroit Tigers, who had a familiar face hitting up a storm in Triple-A: former Dodger Trayce Thompson.

The Dodgers called, the Tigers answered, and next thing you know, Thompson was on his way back to Los Angeles, where he spent two years very early in his career in 2016-17. Going to the Tigers in return was … cash considerations.

No word yet on how that cash is doing in Detroit, but Thompson has been better than anyone could have hoped for in L.A. What was originally expected to be a short stint with the Dodgers has turned into a sure spot on the postseason roster for the 31-year-old Thompson.

Thompson was a big contributor again on Tuesday, when he wasn’t in the original lineup but was a late addition at DH when Gavin Lux was scratched with a neck issue. 

Trayce hit a huge three-run homer off reigning Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes that totally changed the tenor of a game that was expected to be a pitchers duel. Instead, it was a laugher, thanks in no small part to Thompson’s four RBIs.

It’s kind of hard to believe Thompson has been in three organizations this year. He started the season with the Padres, who designated him for assignment in April. He ended up in Triple-A Toledo before the Dodgers plucked him from the Tigers’ minor leagues.

According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Thompson is very aware of his good fortune in returning to Los Angeles.

“I feel like I’ve been in a good spot all year. I feel like I was knocking the door down somewhere. I felt like I was ready to help a team somewhere. I was fortunate enough – Detroit didn’t have to trade me. I was very fortunate for that.

“Man, I’m just so blessed to be here. It hits me every day at some point or another to be able to put this uniform on again.”

Thompson was expected to be the right-handed half of a platoon in the outfield, but he has actually performed much better against right-handed pitchers than against lefties. Thompson has a 1.074 with five of his six home runs against righties.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is also aware of how well this temporary solution has worked out.

“I don’t know. I’m happy it happened that way. Trayce is a guy that obviously we have a lot of history with. … There’s a lot of guys on our roster I could say I don’t know where we’d be without them, and Trayce is in that category as well.”

Where would the Dodgers be without Trayce Thompson? Thankfully, we’ll never know.

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