While the Los Angeles Dodgers have been linked to top free agents at various points throughout the offseason, they’ve largely addressed their roster with under-the-radar acquisitions, with one being signing Jason Heyward to a Minor League contract.
The Chicago Cubs released Heyward last month despite owing him $22 million for the final season of an eight-year, $184 million contract he signed in December 2015. Heyward’s long-term deal with the Cubs deal included opt outs after both the 2018 and 2019 seasons, though they were not exercised.
A heralded signing at the time, Heyward’s career with the Cubs was marred by inconsistency at the plate, with 2018 and 2020 his most successful seasons.
Now as Heyward looks to revive his career, the 33-year-old believes the Dodgers can be key in achieving that, per Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:
“I want to be the best version of myself,” he said. “And the Dodgers, I feel like, give me a really, really great opportunity to do that.”
After a successful 2020 season, Heyward only managed to hit a combined .211/.280/.326 with 20 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 40 RBI in 152 games over the past two years.
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer revealed in August that the team planned to release Heyward during the offseason. Heyward at the time was on the 15-day injured list due to left knee inflammation and he did not play again this past season.
Can Jason Heyward make Dodgers roster for Opening Day 2023?
The Dodgers remain in search of a center fielder to replace Cody Bellinger, which Heyward theoretically could fill.
However, in order for that to become a reality, he first would need to get added to the Dodgers 40-man roster before then earning a spot with the team for Opening Day.
Working against Heyward is he played just 26 games (23 starts) in center field for the Cubs this year, which was a position he hadn’t manned since 2019.
Heyward had a -1.8 Ultimate Zone Rating as a center fielder and 1 Outs Above Average this season.
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