With World Baseball Classic rosters not announced until 9 February, speculation is rife on social media with names that might or might not be present at next month’s competition.
Many of the rumours are not worth further consideration, but when it comes from the wonderful Susan Slusser, the renowned SF Chronicle Giants beat writer and noted Anglophile, we have to pay attention. Susan dropped this news on Friday afternoon:
Trayce Thompson excelled in the Dodgers outfield last season after his move from the Tigers for cash considerations, slashing .268/.364/.537 with 13 home runs in 74 games.
In trading for Thompson as cover for injured Mookie Betts, the Dodgers got a six-year MLB veteran with an ability to hit for power but a career .205 hitter. However, with Dodgers’ magic, they allowed him to thrive.
Who knows how the Dodgers do it, but during a sizzling, slugging summer, the 31-year-old posted a .860 OPS from 1 August to the end of the season, which was good enough for 22nd in MLB (min 140 plate appearances). To put that into perspective, Thompson finished the season hotter than both Juan Soto and Julio Rodriguez (.853 OPS).
GB Baseball’s talismanic Bahamian superstar, Jazz Chisholm, also finished the season with .860 OPS over the final two months. Unfortunately, recent speculation suggests that the Marlins’ second baseman has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic due to the extra work needed for his transition to centre-field duties in Miami.
The Chicago White Sox drafted Thompson in the second round of the 2009 draft. He was part of a star-studded three-team deal in 2015 when Chicago sent him, Micah Johnson, and Frankie Montas to the Dodgers, and Los Angeles sent the trio of Brandon Dixon, Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler to the Reds with Todd Frazier going to the White Sox.
In the space of two weeks in April 2018, Thompson was claimed off waivers by the Yankees and then claimed again two days later by the Athletics before being traded back to the White Sox for cash considerations.
He bounced around the minors in the Cleveland and Arizona franchises before getting a chance back in the big leagues with the Cubs in September 2021. Despite four home runs in 15 games, Thompson was released at the end of the season.
Thompson started 2022 with the Padres but was released after six games. He was picked up by Detroit – his eighth organisation – and was traded to the Dodgers for cash considerations. I bet the Tigers wish they could have that one back when they saw the tear Thompson embarked upon.
2022 with the Dodgers: 205 at-bats, 13 home runs, 14 doubles with, wait for it… a 145 OPS+. That’s 45% better than league average.
Trayce is the younger brother of five-time NBA All-Star Klay Thompson, who we hope will be in Arizona sporting a Let’s Go GB jersey.
And to pre-empt those losers who will undoubtedly question Trayce’s legitimacy to represent Great Britain. His father is the legendary, Nassau-born, former first overall pick in the NBA draft, Mycal Thompson. The Bahamas continues to be a hotbed of talent and a critical source for the GB roster.
Superstar third baseman, Nolan Arenado, is one of Trayce Thompson’s best friends, and the two long-time Orange County pals could be facing each other on Saturday, 11 March, when GB takes on the mighty USA dream team.
Fingers crossed that Susan Slusser’s inside information is correct, as Thompson’s power in Phoenix will be great to watch. And also, you know that Trayce Thompson has hit more homers in Chase Field than Mike Trout, don’t you?
The GB roster will be announced on Thursday, 9 February. Make sure you are following @BatFlips_Nerds for the latest World Baseball Classic news.
Featured image of Trayce Thompson by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images