When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Micah Johnson, Frankie Montas and Trayce Thompson from the Chicago White Sox in December 2015 as part of a three-team trade, Montas was championed as the headliner.
Had he not undergone rib resection surgery last February, and then suffered a broken rib in June, it’s likely Montas would have joined the Dodgers at some point last season. Instead, the right-hander was included in a trade with the Oakland Athletics at the non-waiver deadline.
Johnson hardly made an impact, appearing in seven games for the Dodgers over two stints. He was designated for assignment on Tuesday to create room on the 40-man roster for Kenley Jansen.
An injury to Andre Ethier during Spring Training created a window of opportunity for Thompson, and the young outfielder capitalized. Thompson played his way into a regular role, but come July was unable to recover from a back injury.
Initially diagnosed with lower back irritation, it was discovered in August that Thompson had multiple fractures in his back. The 25-year-old attempted to mount a come back in September but it proved futile.
While Thompson has continued to recover, there is not a timeline for his return, and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the rehab process could carry into Spring Training.
“The back has slowly progressed,” Friedman said from Tuesday’s press conference at Dodger Stadium. “We expect him at some point in Spring Training to be full-go.”
Thompson only now is beginning to expand on baseball-related activities he’s able to complete. His prolonged recovery has very much been by design. “We’ve deliberately taken some time to focus on the strengthening aspect,” Friedman explained.
“Now as we ramp up our hope is that there aren’t any setbacks. He’s done everything he can to put himself in position for that not to happen.”
Thompson appeared in 80 games, batting .225/.302/.436 with 11 doubles, 13 home runs, 32 RBI, a .318 wOBA and 100 wRC+. Thompson was particularly effective during May, hitting .270/.352/.603 with six home runs and 14 RBI in 21 games (18 starts).
He led the Dodgers in several offensive categories during that span. Thompson spent time in center field (32 games; 26 starts), right field (28;22) and left field (24;13).
He attempted to play through back discomfort and appeared in 39 consecutive games from May 31 through July 10, which was the final game he played in last season.