Dodgers Team News

Andrew Friedman Talks Jason Heyward’s Roster Status for Dodgers Opening Day

When the Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal in December, it came with some raised eyebrows from the LA fanbase. If you look at his Baseball-Reference page, he looks a little washed.

But the Dodgers don’t sign players if they don’t see some potential in them.

And that’s just where things are at with Heyward and Andrew Friedman. The Dodgers’ president of baseball operations joined MLB Network’s High Heat on Monday where he gushed about the former All-Star. Friedman told host Alanna Rizzo that the veteran has been putting in work with the coaching staff since day one with the organization. So far, he likes what he sees.

And, it seems he likes it enough to all but guarantee a roster spot for Heyward on opening day.

“Yeah, I’m pretty confident he will (be on the roster). From the time he signed with us to now has poured himself into our hitting guys. His swing looks really good right now. And what he adds in the clubhouse has been incredible as well. Obviously the defender he is… We think he’s gonna play quite a role for us this year.”

Heyward has hit just .245 with a .700 OPS since 2016 (744 games since signing with the Cubs). But, before then, he was a guy that flashed some decent bat to ball skills and a solid on-base percentage to go along with his Gold Glove defense in the outfield. That’s what the Dodger front office is trying to get Heyward back to.

Friedman talked about what he’s seen from the 33-year-old former first rounder’s swing this spring.

“It’s quieter, it’s a more simple swing. He can really leverage a baseball so it’s about putting his body in a position to do that more often than not. I think getting rid of the shift is going to help him as well. But, even more than that, I think the way he is impacting balls and the way he is getting the ball off the ground more is going to lead to some pretty exciting things. Exactly how and where he’ll play and how much is still up in the air. But we expect him to impact our club on the field and also off the field as well.”

Friedman’s words along with what we’ve heard from Dave Roberts this spring confirms that Jason Heyward will be on the opening day roster and possibly in the starting lineup on March 30th. He’s gotten off to a nice start this spring with 4 hits and 2 walks in 15 plate appearances. He’s also second on the team in home runs with 2 long balls.

The fact that he’s one of Freddie Freeman’s best friends doesn’t hurt his chances either.

Who Else Will Be in the Dodgers’ Outfield Picture?

Well, Mookie Betts is a guy you can lock down in right field. In the interview with Alanna, Friedman does concede that Betts will see some time at second base, but knows he’s the “best right fielder on the planet.”

Other than Mookie, the outfield is a bit up in the air. Chris Taylor will see a good amount of time in left field when he’s not spelling Miguel Rojas at shortstop. CT3 will most likely form a platoon in left with offseason signing David Peralta. Trayce Thompson remains in the picture and is a 99.9% lock to make the opening day roster. And James Outman is playing like a man that does not want to go back to Triple-A Oklahoma City to start the season. However, because he has minor league options, he’s the most obvious person of any of these guys to be sent down to start the year.

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!

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