Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers did not make a splash during the Winter Meetings or in the weeks after, but have continually added to their organizational depth. Among those signings was Jason Heyward to a Minor League contract that includes a non-roster invite to 2023 Spring Training.
The move reunited Heyward with Freddie Freeman, who spent five seasons together on the Atlanta Braves from 2010-2014. Both players were selected by the team in the 2007 MLB Draft and rose through the organization’s farm system more than a decade ago.
After news broke of Heyward’s signing with the Dodgers, Freeman took to Instagram to express his excitement. The 2020 National League MVP believes his friendship with the five-time Gold Glove Award winner and lobbying the front office played a role in Heyward joining L.A.
“When I talked to Jason in the last couple months of the season, I went straight to Andrew Friedman and Brandon Gomes, and was like, ‘Hey guys, it’s a perfect fit. He’s a wonderful human, there’s a lot left in there,’” Freeman recalled.
“I stayed on them for a little bit. As the offseason went on, I talked to Jason pretty much every day, and things just kind of fell into place.
“I got my friend back and I’ve just been telling him how wonderful the Dodgers have been for me. He’s really excited. He’s already worked out at Dodger Stadium, he’s been at my house this week, he’s going up to L.A. and Pasadena to work with Robert Van Scoyoc and Aaron Bates, running with Travis Smith, our strength guy.
“He’s going to be in L.A. the next two weeks, spending time with them, and he’s really excited to be a Dodger.”
After five seasons with the Braves and one with the St. Louis Cardinals, Heyward signed an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Chicago Cubs in December 2015.
Though it was a heralded signing at the time, Heyward’s career with the Cubs was marred by inconsistency at the plate. After a successful 2020 season, the 33-year-old hit just .211/.280/.326 with 20 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 40 RBI in 152 games over the past two years.
The Cubs released Heyward last November despite still owing him $22 million for the final season of his eight-year deal.
Jason Heyward shares first look at Dodgers locker during Dodger Stadium workouts
As he looks to revitalize his career, Heyward quicklyi began working with Dodgers hitting coaches Robert Van Scoyoc and Aaron Bates. Heyward recently shared photos of his locker inside the clubhouse at Dodger Stadium along with one standing on the dugout steps.
Heyward also participated in a workout at Dodger Stadium, along with Gavin Lux, Chris Taylor and Trayce Thompson.
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