Dodgers Team News

Why Are the Dodgers Being So Stubborn with Trayce Thompson?

The season has not gone well for the Dodgers and Trayce Thompson. Yes, that’s a bit of an understatement. The veteran outfielder is on the roster to be a lefty masher, but there’s one problem with that… he can’t really hit left-handed pitching. Like, at all. And it’s actually been that way for pretty much his entire career, as his .196/.277/.404 lifetime slash line will tell you.

However, he’s actually crushed right-handed pitching since returning to the Dodgers last season.

  • 2022 vs RHP .308/.409/.602/1.010
    2022 vs LHP .174/.260/.361/.621
  • 2023 vs RHP .217/.333/.609/.942
  • 2023 vs LHP .065/.237/.161/.398

Combined he’s hit .295 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 156 at-bats vs right-handers since rejoining LA.

Amid an 0-25 stretch, and just having just one hit in his last 35 at-bats and 17 games, things have reached their lowest point for Thompson. But, the Dodgers continue sending him out there in a position to fail and send him deeper into a bad place mentally. He opened up recently about his headspace.

“I’ve had days where I’ve been in a dark place the last month or so.”

Via Bill Plunkett, OC Register

“There’s some pressure that I think he’s adding to himself, Dave Roberts said this week. “Understanding his role on the team and his value and not realizing it, I think, is frustrating for him. Maybe there’s a little bit of caring too much. That’s just who he is. But I think at times when you’re hitting and you care too much, that can be detrimental. … I think that’s natural. You can talk about it and understand and process it. But once you get in the batter’s box, there’s that extra anxiety and wanting to prove yourself. He’s had a very unique path. He’s a favorite with all his teammates. But I do think there’s an amount of pressure, stress that he’s adding to himself. I do.”


So why are the Dodgers Being so Stubborn with Trayce?

I don’t have an answer for this, it’s an honest question for everyone — including anyone with the Dodgers that might be reading. Trayce is struggling. He’s being open about his struggles weighing on him mentally. Your own manager Dave Roberts acknowledges that the outfielder is in a bad place mentally and that a few base knocks might help his confidence. Then he’s put back in a position to fail.

For a team that prides itself on analytics, the Dodgers are playing blind with Trayce Thompson’s stats. (Hat tip to Houston Mitchell.)

If the Dodgers’ plan is to keep Thompson on the roster, then they need to adjust his role to what he can do, not what they want him to do. He needs more at-bats against right-handed pitchers. He needs to get a few hits under his belt over a few games to regain the confidence… to regain any confidence in himself.

The problem with that is that Jason Heyward, David Peralta, and James Outman have cemented roles in the outfield against right-handed starting pitchers. So, for Trayce it’s past the point of cracking the lineup with regularity.

At this point, the Dodgers are being more detrimental to Thompson’s career. And it just doesn’t make sense why a team with the analytics department this club has continues to be ok with how they’re using him.

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!


  1. The Dodgers have 6 position players on the active roster that are hitting a buck and 11 of the total 17 position players are hitting .212 or less. The Dodgers need to muster the courage to purge themselves of these perennial underachievers. Not difficult to do.

  2. Well written and I agree with most of it. I have been in Thompson’s position. I remember feeling the same way he does when I read his comments.

    However, one of the main reasons pro athletes are pros is because of their ability to forget. Yesterday is over, here is today a new day. What can I do productive today?

    When I was in his position my coach didn’t play me for games on end. And that messed me up mentally even more because all I wanted to do was play.

    Trayce keeps being played despite his poor production? I see that as bad for the team, production speaking but I see that as somewhat healthy for Trayce to be played. That’s what he wants. To play.

    I understand the idea of the guy is failing, they continue to play him and they are allowing him to fail. I get that, makes perfect sense. But from being in Trayce’s shoes, all I wanted to do was play. And not having that opportunity is worse than playing and failing. I’d rather play.

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