Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
As the Los Angeles Dodgers came away from a quiet Winter Meetings by adding to their organizational depth with the signing of Jason Heyward to a Minor League contract that includes a non-roster invite to 2023 Spring Training.
The Chicago Cubs released Heyward in November despite still owing him $22 million for the final season of an eight-year, $184 million contract he signed in December 2015. The long-term deal included opt outs after both the 2018 and 2019 seasons, which Heyward declined to exercise.
Heyward’s tenure with the Cubs was filled with inconsistency at the plate. Although, he was said to have helped inspire the clubhouse in the midst of a rain delay during Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.
The veteran outfielder quickly began working with Dodgers hitting coaches Robert Van Scoyoc and Aaron Bates, and shared photos of his locker inside the clubhouse at Dodger Stadium along with one standing on the dugout steps.
After enjoying a successful 2020 season with the Cubs, Heyward only managed to hit a combined .211/.280/.326 with 20 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 40 RBI in 152 games over the past two years. Heyward recently expressed confidence the Dodgers can help him get back to being more productive.
The 33-year-old was an All-Star for the Atlanta Braves during his rookie season in 2010, and has won five Gold Glove Awards, but the last of which came in 2017.
Heyward signing with the Dodgers was a welcomed addition for Freddie Freeman, as the two played together while on the Braves.
Will Jason Heyward play center field for Dodgers?
Heyward conceivably could be part of the equation for the Dodgers in center field, but that would first require a successful Spring Training in order to get added to their 40-man roster. Should Heyward not break camp with the team, he still may be a candidate to get called up at some point during the season — similar to Jake Lamb and Kevin Pillar last year.
Heyward played 26 games (23 starts) in center field for the Cubs last year, which he hadn’t manned since 2019. Heyward had a -1.8 Ultimate Zone Rating as a center fielder in 2022 and 1 Outs Above Average.
Are you following Dodger Blue on Instagram? It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!