Throughout the entire season, the Dodgers have been relying on multiple guys to step up in different spots. For a team that was supposed to take a step back, the Dodgers instead pushed forward, and once again are one of the best teams in the league.
From day one, they have taken a more team-oriented approach to things, and it has worked out great for them this season. Credit goes to how President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman put this team together, despite all of the talent that the team lost last offseason.
One of the more underrated signings for LA was that of veteran outfielder Jason Heyward. Heyward was essentially a throwaway player from the Chicago Cubs, but he was brought in to help guide the clubhouse.
From the first time that he entered the building, he started helping them build the chemistry that the team has today.
Friedman opened up about Heyward, and what he has brought to the table in an interview with John Hartung, Jerry Hairston, and Nomar Garciaparra.
“It’s been incredible to watch. Just going back to the first conversation we had with him in the winter and we were honest with him. We said, ‘look we don’t know what the role will look like. We can’t guarantee that you’re gonna make our team. We don’t know how the winter is gonna play out.’ He said, ‘hey, look, all I want is an opportunity. I wanna work with your hitting guys, and I wanna do a trust fall. I wanna work on the things that I started to really work on and do it in your environment and your culture with your coaches. I’ll bet on myself,’ and you know from that point on he came down to LA a number times, he went to Arizona and pretty early on in spring training you could see that it was different.Via SportsNet LA
Heyward is in the midst of one of his best seasons in a long time, and his resurgence has been great to see. He has been one of the more valuable members of this team throughout the year, and that fact continues to this day.
For the season, Heyward is hitting .274 with 15 home runs and 40 runs batted in. While his bat has been impressive this season, his leadership has been a real treat for the club. Friedman continued his thoughts on the season that Heyward has had for LA.
“You know, what he’s done for our young guys, specifically Outy, has been incredible. It’s been really fun to watch. Obviously, I heard about the reputation before, but getting a chance to see it on a daily basis, and to watch the impact that he has on days he’s not playing on days that he starts and comes out of a game early you see him on the top step helping his teammates at every turn. He’s been right in the middle of the success we’ve had so far.”Via SportsNet LA
He has been everything that the Dodgers could have hoped for, and more. As the team gets ready to enter into the postseason here soon, his veteran presence and experience could pay off well.
Heyward will be a key piece to the puzzle, and hopefully, he can make a name for himself in Dodgers history this October.
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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