Former Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, 34, is having a resurgent season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs are paying the bulk of Heyward’s $21.28 million salary this year, but the Dodgers, with a $720,000 minimum salary, are laughing.
Heyward batted fifth in the lineup in right field and went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs in the Dodgers’ 7-3 win over the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11. With the 2-1 win over Washington, the Dodgers are 87-55 (.613 winning percentage) and in first place in the National League West.
Heyward’s bat exploded in the first inning. With runners on second and third, he took a compact swing at a two-pitch outside changeup from Washington right-hander Trevor Williams and lined it into the center field gap for a two-run double. It was his first and final hit of the game.
With the bases loaded in the fifth, he lined a four-pitch changeup to right field to put runners on first and second. In the ensuing at-bat, the Dodgers loaded the bases on a James Outman walk, then added two more runs on a Miguel Rojas single and an Austin Barnes sacrifice fly.
Through 108 games this season, Heyward is batting .351 (75-for-277) with 14 home runs, 38 RBIs, a .484 on-base percentage and an .835 OPS. He has rebounded from his rookie year with a career-high on-base percentage and third-best OPS in his mid-30s.
He’s been especially hot in the second half. In 38 games, he’s batting 30-for-100 with six homers, 16 RBIs, and an .878 OPS. He’s been used strictly as a platoon player, maximizing his advantage against right-handed pitching. His Altoran-like play on both sides of the ball, including his extensive outfield defense, has helped the Dodgers to a first-place finish in the division.
Heyward, a five-time Gold Glove outfielder who debuted with the Atlanta Braves in 2010, signed a franchise-record eight-year, $118.4 million contract with the Cubs in December 2015. He was a member of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship team and helped break the Curse of the Goat, but his performance continued to decline as the contract wore on.
Last year, a knee injury limited him to 48 games, and he had the worst year of his career, batting just 2-for-28 (137 at-bats) with one home run, 10 RBI, and a .556 OPS. Impatient, the Cubs pulled out the knives. They released him outright, picking up the $22 million remaining on his contract through this year. They decided to take a chance on younger players and let go of the remaining salary.토스카지노
The Dodgers snatched up Heyward, who the Cubs had deemed a non-tender. As soon as the news of his release broke last winter, the Dodgers called Hayward three days in a row and signed him to a minor league deal. A $720,000 minimum salary with the Cubs paying the remaining $21.28 million. For the Dodgers, it was almost a no-brainer.
After a steady decline in recent years, Hayward’s chances of rebounding were slim, but the Dodgers saved the day. He spent the winter at Dodger Stadium working on his swing mechanics. He also changed his hand placement at the plate, which was the key to his resurgence. After struggling in exhibition games, he made the opening day roster and hasn’t missed a beat since. The Dodgers’ signing of Heyward is paying off as he provides veteran leadership to the younger players.