The Cleveland Indians don’t have many sure things in the outfield with either injuries or lack of production. Should they make an outside move?
Trayce Thompson has just been designated for assignment by the Oakland A’s, who claimed him after he was put on waivers by the Yankees. Once again, Thompson finds himself in DFA limbo. Would it make sense for the Cleveland Indians to put in a claim?
Thompson, in his career, is a .232/.307/.440 hitter. The 27 year old outfielder has 19 career home runs to his name, across parts of four seasons now.
So far this year, Thompson is just 1-for-7 with four strikeouts in three games played with Oakland. The hopes are still high on Thompson after what could be called his breakout season in 2016 where he hit 13 home runs across 80 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Is there a need in Cleveland?
I suppose you could argue that there is a need for an outfield addition. Lonnie Chisenhall is out for a few more weeks, the health of Michael Brantley can never be taken for granted, and Bradley Zimmer and Tyler Naquin are still trying to figure things out. Thompson could be seen as an upgrade over Brandon Guyer but it would be a marginal upgrade at best.
When healthy, the Cleveland Indians have a decent outfield. However, if a fully healthy outfield is unattainable, an outside addition might be necessary. That happened last year when the Indians traded for Jay Bruce in July. Now the need could be there once again.
Is Thompson a fit in Cleveland?
Thompson is not a big enough upgrade to warrant making a roster spot for. He’s out of options and would likely get claimed again if the team tried to put him through waivers to stash in the minors.
The Tribe already has plenty of guys for the outfield and adding Thompson to the mix would only make sense if he was a big enough upgrade over their current group. So, no one should expect the Tribe to put in a claim on him.
To make matters worse, Thompson’s brother just so happens to be Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. Considering how the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Warriors are basically rivals, bringing Thompson’s brother to Cleveland may create some awkward situations for everyone involved.
So no, the Indians should not claim Trayce Thompson. He’s a decent player, but the upgrade isn’t big enough to warrant the roster spot or stoking the rivalry fires.