Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Although the Los Angeles Dodgers were merely searching for depth in their 2023 outfield plans, they also found a long-awaited reunion along the way by signing Jason Heyward to a Minor League contract.
Heyward is not guaranteed a spot on the Dodgers roster at present time, which he will have an opportunity to earn during Spring Training, but the signing nevertheless brought him. back together with longtime friend and former Atlanta Braves teammate Freddie Freeman.
Heyward and Freeman were both selected by the Braves in the 2007 MLB Draft, and they played for the team from 2010-2014. Since Heyward signed with the Dodgers, he’s worked with their hitting coaches and accompanied Freeman during recent offseason workouts.
“I believe a lot,” Freeman answered when asked how much Heyward is capable of contributing to the Dodgers.
“I’ve known him since I was 16 years old. I know what’s in there, I know he’s got a lot to prove. He’s got a little chip on his shoulder. I know he wants to come in and compete for a job. I hit with him, and it’s a very nice sound coming off the bat. He looks really good.
“He made some adjustments in his swing, his hands are a lot more quiet, and I think he’s going to be able to get to the ball a lot easier. He just looks so relaxed and comfortable with the adjustments he made. I’m hoping for a big spring from him and he gets on our team.”
After beginning his career with a strong five seasons in Atlanta, Heyward spent one year with the St. Louis Cardinals before signing an eight-year, $154 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.
Despite winning a World Series with the Cubs, that stretch of Heywar’s career was filled with mediocre play and various injuries, including a solid 2020 overshadowed by a dismal 2021 and 2022 which saw him collect a .211 batting average with nine home runs and 40 RBI in 152 games across both seasons.
Now signed with the Dodgers, Heyward has a chance to once again rejuvenate his big league career, aspiring to reach big goals within the organization.
Can Jason Heyward make Dodgers roster?
The Dodgers appear to have an opening in their outfield, but Heyward earning a spot on the Opening Day roster may not be a likely outcome.
Along with his own production during Spring Training, that probability in some regard also hinges on how James Outman performs in camp. Outman already is on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, which could give him a leg up on Heyward.
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