Dodgers re-sign outfielder Jason Heyward – NBC Los Angeles

on Nov28
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The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed a free agent.

No, it’s not Shohei Ohtani or Blake Snell, but it will have an impact on the 2024 roster.

Just over a month into MLB’s offseason, the Dodgers have brought back an important piece of their 2023 team on a one-year deal.

Outfielder Jason Heyward is close to a signing a one-year, $9 million deal to return to the Dodgers for the 2024 season. The deal is pending a physical.

Heyward signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers ahead of the 2023 season, but spent the entirety of the year with the major league club. After years of struggling at the plate, Heyward re-tooled his swing last offseason and broke out during his 2023 campaign.

The right-fielder batted .269 with 15 home runs as a left-handed platoon player for the Boys in Blue in 2023, and proved to be a pivotal piece of the Dodgers clubhouse chemistry.

The 14-year veteran is close freinds with Dodgers’ All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, and the duo made an impact on many young players this past season.

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers

Jason Heyward #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with his teammate Freddie Freeman #5 after hitting a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning of a game at Dodger Stadium on August 02, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Despite not playing full-time, Heyward had the best batting average he’s had in the last five years, the most home runs he’s hit since 2019, and ranked fourth on the Dodgers with an .813 on-base-plus-slugging-percentage.

Heyward is expected to return to his platoon role in 2024, likely to start against right-handed pitching, moving Mookie Betts to the infield.

Heyward marks the first free-agent signing for the Dodgers this offseason. They made an earlier move, opting in on the final year of Max Muncy’s contract, awarding him with a two-year, $24 million extension.

While bringing back key pieces to the 2023 roster is nice, it does not address the Dodgers biggest needs this offseason. Los Angeles is still desperately in need of starting pitching, and a designated hitter (Ohtani could eventually fill both those needs, but only DH in 2024).

The team has shown interest in bringing the two-way Japanese star to Dodgers Stadium, as well as many of the top starting pitches on the market. Last week, the Philadelphia Phillies re-signed right-hander Aaron Nola, and on Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals signed RHP Sonny Gray.

The three best pitchers available in free agency are Snell, Japanese star Yosinobu Yamamoto, and World Series Champion Jordan Montgomery.

The Dodgers have also been involved in trade talks for a starting pitcher. Recently, the team was linked to Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease, and are also interested in Milwaukee right-hander Corbin Burnes, should the Brewers decide to trade him. Tampa Bay Rays’ ace Tyler Glasnow is also another starting pitcher that could be on the trade block.

MLB’s annual Winter Meetings begin next week, and the hot stove is likely to heat up during that time.

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