Dodgers News: Trayce Thompson Overcame Self-Questioning With Back Injury

When the Los Angeles Dodgers were in search of an outfielder while Mookie Betts was on the 10-day injured list this season, they reunited with Trayce Thompson by acquiring him from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for cash considerations.

Thompson had struggled in brief time with the San Diego Padres this year, but quickly began producing for the Dodgers. In 74 games with L.A., he posted a .901 on-base plus slugging percentage, and hit .308 with 10 homers in 133 at-bats against right-handed pitching.

The 31-year-old was showcasing the talent that made him a target for the Dodgers back in the 2015 offseason when the club first traded for the outfielder. In 2016 he burst onto the scene, slugging 13 home runs and forcing his way into a regular role.

But in July of that season, Thompson hurt his back, and it was revealed he had been playing with multiple fractured vertebrae. Thompson’s future was then a huge unknown after the Dodgers designated him for assignment following the 2017 season, which he said made him question if baseball was still in the cards, via Joseph Bien-Kahn of GQ:

“I feel like mine was more physical and his was more mental,” Trayce says. “When you hurt your back, it’s just such a flip of the coin. You don’t necessarily know if you’re gonna get back to being the same athlete you were. I was just physically questioning, ‘Can I get back to who I was?’”

Thompson made stops with the New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Guardians, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Padres and the Tigers before the Dodgers traded for him on June 20.

His brother Klay Thompson is an NBA star for the Golden State Warriors who most notably missed 941 days between games from 2018 to mid-season 2021 because of a torn ACL and subsequent Achilles tear.

The Thompson brothers understood each other in how their own rehab journeys forced them into uncomfortable spots, but with success in the aftermath, they both rediscovered their stride.

Trayce Thompson & his value to the Dodgers

Aside from a difficult stretch in the National League Division Series, Thompson’s season was an incredible find for president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers.

Thompson’s success earned him multiple starts in the postseason. Thompson heading into his first year of being eligible for salary arbitration and isn’t slated to be a free agent until 2025.

Make sure to follow Dodger Blue on Instagram! It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!