MLBbro Jason Heyward for all intents and purposes was looking towards retirement.
His struggles at the plate with the Chicago Cubs was well documented and even though MLBbro.com roots for the success of all the MLBbros, our stories on Heyward had been reduced to his community work and the use of social media for leadership purposes in the locker room.
The supposed timeline for Jason Heyward was supposed to go like this…
- After the Chicago Cubs bought out the contract for $22 million, he was supposed to go away.
- The media and PR team was going to produce a documentary on his famous speech during the rain delay to inspire his teammates to win the 2016 World Series.
- Have a nice press conference to announce our MLBbro’s retirement.
Jason Heyward had other ideas. He wanted to play baseball. Only one problem, there were no takers out there for an aging free agent that has struggled for a couple of seasons…except for one.
The Los Angeles Dodgers.
“They were the first team to call, the second team to call, and the third team to call,” Heyward said to USA Today Sports. “No one was willing to give a major league contract, but they were at least willing to give me a minor-league deal and give me a chance.”
The Dodgers found a diamond in the rough last year when they signed Trayce Thompson after he was released to fill in for Mookie Betts. Lightning struck twice for L.A. when Heyward signed a minor league deal in the offseason. What did the Dodgers get for their one year, $720,000 investment? A solid contributor in the lineup.
Jason Heyward’s final 124 games with Cubs: 6 home runs
Jason Heyward in 42 games with Dodgers: 6 home runs pic.twitter.com/vfbkPA0Vzr
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHHarris) May 31, 2023
Our MLBbro has already matched the home run total in his final days in Chicago in about one-third of the time with six. But it goes further than that. Check out the advanced stats through 43 games to his “Rookie of the Year” totals in 2010…
Jason Heyward in 2010 (NLROY):
- 142 games
- 18 home runs with 72 RBI
- 11 stolen bases
- Hitting splits of .277/.393/.456
- 134 wRC+ (Weighted runs created plus)
- 4.6 fWAR (Fangraphs Wins above replacement)
Jason Heyward so far in 2023:
- 43 games
- Six home runs with 13 RBI
- Two stolen bases
- Hitting splits of .228/.347.475
- 126 wRC+
- 1.0 fWAR
Just like in Chicago, our MLBbro has provided the veteran presence in the dugout and locker room providing wisdom and experience to his teammates no matter if they are young or old. For that reason, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts gave Heyward the ultimate compliment…
“He’s on the Mount Rushmore of favorite players I’ve been around,” Roberts said. “He has a new lease on life, a new freshness. He’s been a big part of this. I’m honored to be sharing the same uniform with him.”
If our MLBbro can maintain this consistency, not only does this have the potential to be one of the top comeback stories in recent memory, but the Dodgers may have created highway robbery by reclamation projects for the second straight year.
But for Jason Heyward, the Dodgers and the MLBbro.com staff, the real story is about a player being happy playing the game he loves…
“It’s such a good environment here, coming to work, having fun, and having people dedicated to helping you be the best version of yourself,” Heyward said. “Their reputation here has really exceeded itself. There’s a lot of good examples to watch, left handed hitters to watch, examples as far they prepare, the way guys go about their business, pillars like Freddie [Freeman] and Mookie [Betts] and Will Smith. It makes it easier for us.”
“It’s just nice to be playing games trying to win. That’s the most important thing. I don’t care who I’m going out there to battle with, if we’re trying to win every day, there’s the satisfaction. That’s the beautiful part about this organization.”
“I couldn’t be happier.”
Heyward gives a big assist to Freddie Freeman opening some doors for this opportunity. It is easy to see the respect they have for one another in this interview after a big win over the Washington Nationals earlier in the week and what is sustaining the success as of late.
"Guys around me, we talk about trying our best to keep it simple and it payed off in a big way today." Jason Heyward & @FreddieFreeman5 on today's win and their impact at the plate. pic.twitter.com/974u3AQ59B
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 31, 2023
Here’s to our MLBbro’s hard road from retirement to resurrection.