DETROIT – A player the Detroit Tigers traded away last season for literally nothing but cash has twice as many home runs and much better offensive numbers than anyone on the entire Tigers roster.
Nobody really batted an eye when the Tigers traded Trayce Thompson to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He had signed with them as a minor-league free agent in mid-May, and then got shipped out on June 20.
His numbers in Triple-A Toledo were phenomenal: A .299 average, .352 on-base percentage, and .639 slugging percentage. Thompson hit eight home runs, seven doubles, and a triple in just 25 minor-league games.
The Tigers -- who finished last in most major offensive categories last season -- probably should have called him up to the MLB roster. Instead, since their season was virtually over and they didn’t really care to keep a 31-year-old utility player, they simply handed him over to the Dodgers for some pocket money.
Thompson finished the season by hitting 13 homers and 14 doubles in 74 games for the Dodgers. He posted a .901 OPS and was worth 2.0 WAR.
Detroit didn’t have a single qualified player with even a .750 OPS, and the only two Tigers to finish with at least 2.0 WAR needed more than 100 games to get there.
It didn’t really matter, because as good as Thompson was, he wouldn’t have given the Tigers the additional 21 wins they needed to earn the final wildcard spot.
But it sure would help the Tigers to have him this year. Through 11 games, they once again have the fewest runs scored in MLB.
Only three players on the Tigers’ roster have an OPS over .700: the backup catcher (Jake Rogers), the guy they called up four days ago (Akil Baddoo), and a platoon outfielder (Kerry Carpenter). Rogers and Nick Maton are tied for the team lead with two home runs.
Meanwhile, Thompson blasted his fourth home run of the season on Wednesday night. He’s batting .333 with a .478 OBP and a 1.000 slugging percentage. His 1.478 OPS is twice as high as every Tigers player but two: Rogers and Carpenter.
It’s still early in the season, and again, it wouldn’t make much difference if Thompson was with the Tigers. But it’s just another move for fans to look back on in frustration. And there have been a lot of those lately.