The Dodgers have claimed right-hander Cory Mazzoni off waivers from the Cubs, the team announced on Twitter. Mazzoni has been optioned to Triple-A. To create roster space, outfielder Trayce Thompson has been designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
Thompson posted an .896 OPS over 135 plate appearances as a rookie with the White Sox in 2015, and came to L.A. as part of the three-team trade with the Sox and Reds (the same deal that also sent Todd Frazier to Chicago and Scott Schebler to Cincinnati). Between that rookie performance and a strong start as a Dodger in 2016, it looked as if Thompson was on his way to becoming a key piece in the Los Angeles outfield, though his season was prematurely ended by a pair of back fractures. Still hampered by injury and recovery last season, Thompson hit .212/.269/.363 over 369 PA at the Triple-A level and appeared in just 27 games for the Dodgers.
With Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig slated for everyday duty in center and right field, the Dodgers had a multitude of options for the left field and backup outfield spots, including Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles, and prospect Alex Verdugo. It could be that the Dodgers’ inability to trade Kemp and his big contract led to Thompson’s situation and the roster crunch, as it seems as though Kemp and Pederson will begin the year in a righty/lefty platoon in left field. Thompson is out of options, which makes the Dodgers’ decision to designate him rather than just keep Toles and Verdugo in the minors something of a curious one, as now L.A. could lose Thompson to any team that issues a claim for his services.
Mazzoni has been rocked to the tune of a 17.28 ERA over his 16 2/3 career big league innings, and he missed almost all of 2016 recovering from shoulder surgery. The righty is switching teams for the second time this offseason, as the Cubs previously claimed him off waivers from the Padres back in November. A second-round pick for the Mets in the 2011 draft, Mazzoni has a 3.72 ERA, 9.1 K/9 and 4.02 K/BB rate over 373 frames in the New York and San Diego farm systems, working exclusively as a reliever the last three seasons.