The Padres recently signed outfielder Trayce Thompson and corner infielder/outfielder Brandon Dixon to minor league contracts, according to Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. It’s the first season in the organization for both players, who each have a few years of big league experience.
Thompson has played in a little more than 200 MLB games between four teams. He broke in with the White Sox in 2015, posting an excellent small-sample showing as a rookie. He was traded to the Dodgers as part of a three-team deal that offseason — one which, coincidentally, saw Los Angeles send Dixon to Cincinnati. He tallied a career-high 262 plate appearances with Los Angeles that season, hitting .225/.302/.436, but he saw only sporadic action over the next couple years.
After appearing in 27 games with L.A. in 2017, he bounced from the Yankees to the A’s and back to the White Sox via waivers and minor trade the following year. He spent the next couple seasons at Triple-A before resurfacing in the big leagues with the Cubs last September. Thompson only tallied 35 plate appearances with the North Siders last season, but he popped four homers and had a solid .233/.344/.492 showing in 88 games with Triple-A Iowa, where he played all three outfield positions.
Dixon has spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues. He debuted with the Reds in 2018, a few years after they acquired him in the aforementioned deal with Los Angeles. Cincinnati waived him that winter, and he landed with the Tigers, receiving a good chunk of MLB playing time during the 2019 season. Dixon hit .248/.290/.435 with 15 homers over 420 PA and 117 games with Detroit that year, but then appeared in only five big-league contests in 2020.
The next step was a move outside of North American ball entirely, as Dixon headed to Japan in 2021 to play with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Dixon roughly split his time between the Eagles and their top minor league affiliate, and struggled to only a .167/.268/.324 slash line in 123 PA for the Sendai-based team.
The two minor league deals give the Padres some additional depth options to choose from during Spring Training. While rumors continue to swirl about how San Diego could upgrade their outfield, Jurickson Profar remains the top option for left field at-bats, and Thompson has more defensive flexibility than another non-roster invitee in Nomar Mazara. Dixon has also spent a lot of his time as a corner outfielder, and brings added versatility due to his experience at first, second, and third base.