Jason Heyward had a tremendous bounce-back season in his first year in Los Angeles. Now the veteran will be back with the Dodgers after agreeing to a one-year contract worth $9 million, per multiple reports.
Kiley McDaniel at ESPN was first to report the Heyward reunion with Los Angeles. The deal has not yet been announced by the team, and is pending completion of a physical.
Heyward was healthy again after two injury-plagued seasons in Chicago, and had his best season in years after signing a minor league contract with the Dodgers last December.
The veteran outfielder hit .269/.340/.473 with 15 home runs, 23 doubles, and a 121 wRC+ in 124 games with the Dodgers this season. His home runs matched his total from the previous three seasons and his 2023 doubles were just three shy of 2020-22.
Heyward was used in a strict platoon role, with all 98 of his starts coming against right-handed pitchers, and 92.6 percent of his plate appearances came against righties.
His 121 wRC+ was Heyward’s highest in a full season since 2015. The only years in which Heyward produced a higher wRC+ were his rookie campaign in 2010 (134 wRC+) and the pandemic-shortened 2020 (131).
In addition to his exploits at the plate, Heyward provided excellent defense in right field, rating plus-five in Defensive Runs Saved and ranked second in the majors at the position with plus-six Outs Above Average despite playing only 43 percent of the Dodgers innings in right field.
Heyward made $22 million in 2023, the final seaosn of his eight-year, $184 million contract signed with the Cubs before the 2016 season. But because Heyward was released by Chicago last November, the Dodgers were only responsible for paying Heyward the major league minimum of $720,000, with the Cubs paying the rest of his salary.
The 34-year-old Heyward in his 14 major league seasons is a .258/.339/.410 hitter with 292 doubles, 174 home runs, and a 105 wRC+ with 40.7 bWAR and 35.5 fWAR.
Heyward’s signing fills up the Dodgers’ 40-man roster at the moment, with much more movement coming this offseason. The current roster breakdown is 23 pitchers and 17 position players.