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Dodgers sign Jason Heyward to minor league contract

Veteran outfielder is a non-roster invitee to spring training

Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

In the same week the Cubs signed a discarded Dodgers outfielder, Los Angeles returned the favor. On Thursday, the Dodgers signed Jason Heyward to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training.

Heyward was released by Chicago on November 14, with one year and $22 million remaining on his eight-year contract. The Cubs are responsible for the rest of his salary, save for the major league minimum of $720,000 should Heyward make the Dodgers.

It’s a reclamation project for certain, as Heyward hit just .211/.280/.326 over the last two seasons, with nine home runs and 20 doubles in 152 games. Among the 298 major league hitters with at least 500 plate appearances combined in 2021-22, Heyward’s 67 wRC+ ranked 286th.

Injuries have besieged Heyward the last two seasons. He spent time on the injured list for his hamstring, a finger, and a concussion in 2021. Then he missed the final three-plus months with right knee inflammation, having last played on June 24.

In 13 major league seasons, Heyward is a .257/.339/.406 with 159 home runs, 269 doubles, and a 104 wRC+. Throughout his career he’s been a much better hitter against right-handed pitchers, hitting .267/.353/.432 with a 114 wRC+, compared to .231/.302/.340 with a 77 wRC+ against southpaws.

Heyward — who has been a plus defender throughout his career mostly in right field but some in center as well, including five Gold Glove Awards — joins a competition for playing time in the Dodgers outfield that includes Trayce Thompson, Chris Taylor, plus rookies James Outman and Miguel Vargas to go along with right field fixture Mookie Betts.

Heyward is 33.