Freddie Freeman Excited By Jason Heyward Signing With Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers made an under-the-radar move on Thursday by signing veteran outfielder Jason Heyward to a Minor League contract, reuniting him with former Atlanta Braves teammate Freddie Freeman.

Heyward’s deal includes an invitation to big league camp in 2023 Spring Training, and with the Chicago Cubs still on the hook for the backend of his eight-year, $184 million contract, the addition is a low-risk signing for the Dodgers.

Entering his 14th season, Heyward and Freeman are together again after rising through the Braves farm system more than a decade ago. Both were former picks out of high school in the 2007 MLB Draft.

Heyward a first-round selection, with Freeman drafted in the second-round out of El Modena High School in Orange, California.

Freeman shared a photo of the two on his Instagram story to express his excitement over Heyward signing with the Dodgers.

The five-time Gold Glove Award winner has dealt with regression after signing that mega-deal with the Cubs prior to the 2016 season. But the Dodgers are notorious for getting one more squeeze out of players who could use a bit of re-tooling, and Heyward potentially fills their need for a veteran, left-handed outfielder with a sure-handed glove.

What to like about Jason Heyward signing with Dodgers

In large part due to missing a majority of the 2022 season in what was his final year with the Cubs, Heyward’s production was undoubtedly underwhelming. The 33-year-old hasn’t posted a wRC+ above league average since the 2020 shortened season, and prior to that, he posted back-to-back 100 wRC+ years in 2018-19.

The data from 2021 are the most recent and most reliable when evaluating what Heyward can bring to the table, and his profile is a far cry from the 20-year-old phenom that took MLB by storm in 2010. Heyward’s numbers from 2021 put him in the 95th percentile in max exit velocity, and in both hard-hit rate and strikeout percentage, he’s above league average.

With a need on defense, his ability to track down the ball is still there as he remains in the top 20th percent in outs above average across all MLB outfielders.

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