The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the offseason with a clear need for starting pitching as the likes of Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw officially became free agents. With the likelihood of a lockout increasing, the club got a jump start by signing Andrew Heaney to a one-year contract.
The left-hander went 8-9 with a 5.83 ERA, 4.85 FIP and 1.32 WHIP in 30 games (23 starts) for the L.A. Angels and New York Yankees this year. Heaney particularly struggled with home runs, allowing two per nine innings, which would have ranked last in all of baseball had he qualified.
Despite the unimpressive numbers, Heaney is said to have received contract offers from more than 10 teams before striking a deal with the Dodgers.
Heaney will receive a reported base salary of $8.5 million next year and has the potential to earn even more if he meets certain incentives for innings pitched, via the Associated Press:
Heaney can earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses: $250,000 each for 100, 125, 150 and 175 innings.
Since making his MLB debut in 2014, Heaney has crossed the 100-inning threshold three times, including most recently this past season when he logged 129.2 frames.
The 30-year-old exceeded the 175-inning mark just once back in 2018 as a member of the Angels. That was one of Heaney’s best seasons as he posted a 9-10 record with a 4.15 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 1.20 WHIP and 1.6 WAR in 30 starts.
Heaney believes bounce-back similar to Robbie Ray is ‘realistic’
Several executives believe Heaney is poised for a bounce-back season next year and think he could follow the same path to stardom as Robbie Ray.
“I think it is realistic,” Heaney said of the possibility. “I’m not sitting here predicting I’m going to go win the Cy Young next year, but I do think teams look at not only pitcher’s stuff but also underlying metrics.
“I think that’s a lot of teams — especially in a situation for a guy like me where it is a bounce-back season. I’m fully admitting the year I had is not what I wanted to have, but I do think there were some things I could do a lot better and probably some really small things that are going to make big differences.”
Heaney’s underlying metrics likely caught the eye of the Dodgers’ front office and other interested teams. He finished in the 91st percentile in chase rate, and his four-seam fastball spin rate was in the 90th percentile.
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