Dodgers Team News

What Should the Dodgers Do with Trayce Thompson?

The Dodgers find themselves in a very difficult spot with outfielder Trayce Thomspon. The 32-year-old was the breakout story of last year, hitting 13 home runs and driving in 39 RBIs in 239 plate appearances. He had an incredible OPS of .901, and appeared to have completely revitalized his career in Los Angeles.

Thompson entered the 2023 season with a potentially much larger role, especially with the departure of Cody Bellinger. If Thompson could hit, he would earn himself some major playing time — the only problem is, he hasn’t.

After getting three home runs in his first game, Thompson is slashing .100/.250/.175 with 1 home run and 3 RBIs. In that time, he has 23 strikeouts.

The major problem with Thompson last season — and the reason he didn’t get even more playing time — is that he had brutal reverse splits. While he hit very well against right-handed pitching, he, for some reason, couldn’t hit lefties. This spring, Thompson told’s very own Doug McKain that he knew he could hit both righties and lefties. However, one month in the 2023 season, he just hasn’t.

In 24 plate appearances against righties, Thompson is slashing .250/.375/.700 with 3 homers and 7 RBI.

In 28 plate appearances against lefties, Thompson is hitting an abysmal .083/.214/.208 with 1 homer and 4 RBI.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, McKain asked Dodgers manager Dave Roberts about those reverse splits.

“Trayce is trying to figure it out vs lefties. They’re trying to crowd him,” Roberts said. “He’s been working really hard. It is an angle thing with the lefties vs the righties but I still think he’s going to figure it out.”

The Dodgers can “think” all they want, but the numbers have shown that Thompson just can’t figure it out. He struggled to stay around in the majors until last season, and last year, despite his success, he still struggled with the reverse splits.

So What Should the Dodgers Do With Trayce?

We have to give credit to our very own Clint Pasillas, who, before the season, predicted Thompson wouldn’t make it out of April. After his impressive 2023 debut, Pasillas gave Thompson some credit, but predicted that it was more of an April Fools prank, and that Thompson would come back down to earth.

Since April 1, that’s exactly what he’s done.

The Dodgers have a ton of outfield depth between Mookie Betts, James Outman David Peralta, Jason Heyward and Chris Taylor, so if Thompson continues to struggle, his spot in this roster could very much be in jeopardy — especially with his reverse splits.

The Dodgers have more than enough lefty options when a right-hander is on the mound — they need an outfielder who has proven he can hit lefties.

If Thompson isn’t that guy — and right now he clearly isn’t — his spot on this roster won’t be safe. If the Dodgers can find a better option for left-handed pitching — whether it be someone on the roster, someone in the minor leagues or an external options, the Dodgers won’t take their time in making that move.

While Pasillas wasn’t correct about Thompson being gone by April, he’s pretty much nailed Thompson’s season so far. And if I can use his prediction on this one, Thompson will be gone sooner rather than later — unless, of course, he miraculously starts hitting left-handed pitching.

Dave Roberts is Still Trying to Get the Most Out of Thompson

The Dodger manager went to his bag of tricks with Trayce on Sunday. He spoke with reporters before the game about the re-introduction of a nice game of pepper, a training drill we haven’t seen since Roberts employ since 2016 with Joc Pederson. The hope is that it would simplify things for Thompson and, perhaps more importantly, help the outfielder “have fun, see the baseball, clean up the swing path, and promote bat to ball.” Plus it’s a competition that added the “element of joy and fun while working.”

Another nugget from Dave on Trayce is that he agrees the struggling veteran is “probably” the Dodger most mentally worn down by his extended slump.

Noah Camras

Noah is an Editor for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan his whole life, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin.

One Comment

  1. Try to trade him. A package of Trayce, maybe Taylor & a lower prospect pitcher for a better utility player.

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