The Dodgers have won the offseason! Kidding aside, the club announced a signing today bringing in five-time Gold Glove award winner Jason Heyward. It’s a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training.
The Los Angeles Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League camp.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) December 8, 2022
Heyward is a bit of a headscratcher as the former All-Star has been at or below league average in terms of wRC+ in 6 of the last 8 seasons. Moreover, he’s coming off a season where he posted an OPS of 58 over 48 games while battling through a knee injury.
The long-time Cubs outfielder is still owed $22 million from Chicago next season, which would be the final year of a massive eight-year, $184 million deal he signed ahead of the 2016 season.
Heyward last season posted a 61 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR and the Cubs were essentially paying him $20+ million to be their fifth outfielder.
Dodgers love to sign formerly good/great players that have any name recognition.
There's nothing to see here. https://t.co/3vIqetOjVJ
— Doug McKain (@DMAC_LA) December 8, 2022
As Doug mentions in the tweet above, this is a classic Dodgers-esque move that nets the club depth and veteran brand recognition. The 33-year-old will compete with guys like Trayce Thompson and James Outman for an opening day roster spot. While Heyward has struggled with the bat in recent years, his glove usually still grades as at or above average in the outfield. And his ability to cover in centerfield plays up following the loss of Cody Bellinger who went to the Cubs on Tuesday.
At the winter meetings, Dave Roberts mentioned the team exploring the outfield market for an outfielder that can play center. Chances are high that this isn’t who he had in mind but it’s a fine low risk, medium reward signing for the Dodgers.
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