As the old saying goes, “hard work pays off,” and that is the case with outfielder Jason Heyward of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers basically saved Heyward from retiring prior to last season. The 34-year-old outfielder decided to take one more crack at it and put together a highly productive season in his backup role. 

 

Jason Heyward Signs One-Year/$9M Deal With Dodgers

 

With much less hesitance, Heyward ran it back with the LA Dodgers, signing a deal this offseason worth one year, $9 million. 

 

Heyward recently expressed his gratitude toward the organization for the opportunity: “It’s amazing to have people believe in you, that’s something that’s earned, for sure, especially with the Dodgers. They don’t hand out these jerseys lightly. It’s just a privilege to come back here and wear No. 23 for this group, this fan base, and city.”

 

“Just want to work hard, have fun and compete.”

 

In 98 starts, while appearing in 124 games for the Dodgers last season where he faced all right-handed pitchers, the former Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals star batted .269/.340/.473 with 23 doubles, 15 home runs, 40 RBI, 56 runs scored.

 

There isn’t a safer place in the world to hit than hidden within this current star-studded Dodgers lineup. In fact, Heyward’s time with the Dodgers – from fine-tuning his swing to being able to be just one of the guys – has prolonged his career. 

 

Heyward is someone who overcame adversity as he was cut by the Chicago Cubs in 2022. Having a strong 2023 was imperative for Heyward to continue prolonging his professional career in the majors.

 

Jason Heyward Is Shohei Ohtani’s “Unofficial Spokesperson”

 

Now entering his 15th MLB season, Heyward has a very specific role on this LA Dodgers team, beyond his contributions on the field and his personal goal to “work hard, have fun and compete.”

 

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has nominated Jason Heyward to assume the role of the team’s “unofficial spokesperson” for the Japanese media. Heyward will handle all things ” Shohei Ohtani” as the superstar’s arrival in Los Angeles will draw hundreds, maybe even thousands, of international media to American ballparks.

In a recent interview with SportsNet LA, Roberts addressed the challenge of handling the media onslaught accompanying Ohtani’s presence on the team. Referencing his own experience playing alongside Barry Bonds, Roberts acknowledged the importance of having a seasoned player who can field media inquiries, allowing others to focus on the game.

He emphasized that the unique situation with Ohtani and the curiosity surrounding other new players such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto, necessitates a respected lifer such as Heyward to handle media interaction.

“I played with Barry Bonds […] and I was that player, a teammate that answered a lot of questions because other teammates didn’t care to.” – Dave Roberts

 

Barry Bonds sits the bench next to Dave Roberts as the Colorado Rockies as the Rockies defeated the Giants 7-4 at Coors Field September 3, 2007, in Denver

 

 

LA Dodgers Are A Rock Star Team With Mucho Talent 

 

Heyward will be rejoining perhaps the most talented and most dynamic team in all of baseball this coming season as they signed two-time AL MVP Shohei Ohtani to a historic 10-year, $700 million contract as well as signing rookie Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the largest contract by a pitcher in league history (12 years, $325 million.)

 

Having new additions like those players bolsters a roster that was already supreme beforehand. We haven’t even gotten to three-time Silver Slugger first baseman Freddie Freeman (whom Heyward is good friends with) and outfielder Mookie Betts, a six-time Golden Glove recipient and a former AL MVP himself.

 

 

The ‘J-Hey Kid’, as he was called back in his early days as a young Atlanta Braves phenom, can slide in at any outfield position and hold down the forte if any of the starters get injured. Heyward is also someone who can produce RBI in the box and help manufacture runs.

 

He’s a veteran presence with championship pedigree who will be a solid influence on young and incoming players.


Heyward is also someone who gives back to the community as he has the Jason Heyward Baseball Academy in Chicago, which he recently established. 

 

 

The club will provide hands-on instruction for young boys and girls ages 6-14 who love baseball as a nonprofit organization that will be hosted in the North Austin Center.

 

His academy not only offers baseball but also will have a FIFA regulation-sized indoor soccer turf field, classrooms to have proactive learning sessions, indoor courts, a workout facility, and more.

 

The Dodgers are the betting favorites to win the 2024 World Series at +350 according to Fox Sports and Heyward is elated to be along for the ride. 

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