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Tampa Bay Rays trade target: OF Trayce Thompson

The crowded Dodgers outfield makes this toolsy center fielder available.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to trade outfielder Trayce Thompson.

The Dodgers are expected to make outfielder Trayce Thompson available in trade talks. Thompson is out of options, so the Dodgers could lose him on waivers if they try to send him to the minor leagues.

Thompson appears to rank behind Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo on the Dodgers’ outfield depth chart.

A right handed hitter recovering from injury, Thompson is out of options and blocked on the major league roster.

Thompson was part of a three way deal between the Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox where Frankie Montas, Micah Johnson (we know him!), and Thompson went to Los Angeles. Todd Frazier went to the White Sox. Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler, and Brandon Dixon were sent to the Reds.

At the time of the trade, Thompson was the number five prospect in the White Sox system. At the major league level he’d hit .295/.363/.533 and put up a 146 wRC+ In 135 plate appearances.

In 2016, now with the Dodgers he hit .225/.302/.436 and 100 wRC+ over 262 plate appearances in a part time role. Then in late 2016 Thompson went down with a fractured back. What was thought to be a back irritation was in fact multiple fractures, and LA opted for surgery.

After being limited throughout Spring Training in 2017, Thompson spent most of the year in the minors and struggled, hitting .212/.269/.363 and put up a 58 wRC+ in AAA over 369 plate appearances. He was 1-for-56 across both levels to start the year, and never broke in with the major league side due to the emergence of Chris Taylor in center field.

Defensively Thompson has split his time among all three outfield positions, and profiles well in each. He has put up +3 DRS and +1.6 UZR (+5.3 UZR/150) in 353.1 innings in center field, -3 DRS and -5.7 UZR (-31.0 UZR/150) in 243.0 innings in left field (an easier position), and +5 DRS and -2.2 UZR (-9.5 UZR/150) in 367.1 innings in right field. There isn’t a meaningful sample anywhere, but he’s been above average by DRS and below average by UZR.

Acquiring Thompson isn’t without his risks, but he is a player that has put up a 105 wRC+ in just under 500 major league plate appearances. He’s available for a reason, but this is a gamble the Rays should be looking at taking.

The Rays are looking for a right handed bat to get some of the outfield playing time versus left handed pitching. Thompson checks that box and if he’s forced into a larger role by injury or under performance Thompson has the potential to be a useful full time major leaguer.