LA receives Montas, Johnson, Thompson from White Sox
By Tom Singer
Did the Dodgers just pull off a three-team trade, going on four?
That was a popular perception on Wednesday after the Dodgers acquired three prospects from the White Sox in exchange for three prospects sent to the Reds -- who in turn dealt All-Star third baseman Todd Frazierto Chicago. The move could possibly set the Dodgers up to deal for an established Major League arm to offset the loss of Zack Greinke.
The Dodgers' haul is headlined by right-hander Frankie Montas, now ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the organization by MLBPipeline.com. Montas' 100-mph fastball could give the Dodgers a Triple-A rotation that also includes Julio Urias (the club's No. 2 prospect), Jose DeLeon (No. 3) and Jharel Cotton (No. 17) -- or it could set them up for a trade.
"This trade helps lengthen our prospect group a little bit. We're having a lot of conversations that involve potentially trading prospects," Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, said on a media conference call. "[This trade] wasn't necessarily directly connected, but every move we make has some connection.
"We're aware of other teams having an interest in some of the guys we acquired -- and in other young players in our system. This gives us a lot of options in trying to make a deal."
Also coming to Los Angeles in the deal are outfielder Trayce Thompson -- son of Mychal Thompson, the former Lakers power forward, and brother of Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson -- and second baseman Micah Johnson. Johnson and Thompson are now ranked as the Dodgers' No. 8 and 16 prospects, respectively.
Friedman characterized them as "three young players who we feel have a real chance to contribute in 2016 [and] fit our short- and long-term roster better."
From White Sox to Dodgers
Frankie Montas, RHP (No. 4 on Dodgers' Top 30)
Micah Johnson, 2B (No. 8 on Dodgers' Top 30)
Trayce Thompson, OF (No. 16 on Dodgers' Top 30)
All three Dodgers newcomers made their big league debuts this season. Montas, 22, made five scoreless relief appearances as a September callup before making two losing starts. Thompson, 24, batted .295, with five homers and 16 RBIs, in 44 games. Johnson, who will turn 25 on Friday, made 32 starts at second in two separate shifts, batting .230 in 100 at-bats.
Montas' power arm makes him both a rotation and bullpen prospect, and he could be a keeper, but the prospect lode could allow the Dodgers to make another run at a premium Major League veteran such as Jose Fernandez. Earlier talks between Los Angeles and Miami ended when the Marlins asked for Urias to be included in any package for their ace.
"There's no question in my mind [Montas] could step into a Major League bullpen right now," Friedman said. "We're of the mind to continue to develop him as a starting pitcher. We'll have a lot of time in Spring Training to be around him, and to get to know him."
A left-handed hitter, Johnson could form a platoon with Kiké Hernandez and Chase Utley at second base, where free agent Howie Kendrick made 112 starts this season. Thompson is a depth option in the outfield, where the versatile Hernandez appeared 34 times.
"We're excited about the three guys we have [at second base]," said Friedman. "We expect Chase and Kiké to get a lot of at-bats. Thompson is an exceptional athlete with strong bloodlines, who fits into our roster well with his ability to play all three [outfield] spots."
After his strong big league debut, Thompson was considered a candidate for a starting role in the White Sox's outfield. With the Dodgers, he is more likely to play behind Joc Pederson -- "a good buddy" of his since the two met playing in the instructional league four years ago.
"I'd love to share an outfield with him," said Thompson, who called the opportunity "surreal" to play in Los Angeles, where his dad remains part of the sporting scene as a member of the Lakers' radio broadcast team.
In addition to his father and Klay, Thompson's oldest brother, Mychal, played for Pepperdine University and currently plays pro basketball in Italy.
"It is a basketball family," Trayce said. "But since I was 5 or 6, baseball was always my thing, my first love. I fell in love with the game at a very young age."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.