The Yankees announced that they’ve claimed outfielder Trayce Thompson off waivers from the Dodgers. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, New York transferred righty Ben Heller from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. The Dodgers had designated Thompson for assignment last week.
Thompson, 27, gives the Yankees some outfield depth with each of Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney currently on the disabled list. The brother of NBA star Klay Thompson, Trayce has spent the past two seasons with the Dodgers organization after being acquired from the White Sox in the three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier from Cincinnati to Chicago.
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While Thompson logged a respectable .249/.322/.469 slash through his first 397 plate appearances between the Sox and Dodgers, he struggled to a .122/.218/.265 line in a tiny sample of 55 PAs last year in the Majors. His struggles weren’t confined to the big leagues, either; in 369 plate appearances in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League, he hit just .212/.269/.363.
Thompson will give the Yankees a player who can handle all three outfield spots and has had some success both in the Majors and at Triple-A, even in light of his 2017 struggles. It remains to be seen if he can stick with the Yankees in the long term, however. He’s out of minor league options, so when some combination of Hicks, Ellsbury, Frazier and McKinney comes off the DL, it’s possible that Thompson could again find himself exposed to waivers.