Long-time right fielder Jason Heyward is back for another one.
The 14-year veteran has reportedly re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a one-year $9 million deal. Heyward will enter the season at 34 years old and will have the chance to add to his stellar career.
J-Hey Is The Consummate Pro
Prior to his ongoing stint in Los Angeles, Heyward spent seven seasons with the Braves, Cardinals and Cubs. With the Cubs, Heyward secured an eight-year $184 million deal that, despite winning the World Series, he was unable to sustain. In the seven seasons prior to joining the Dodgers, Heyward struggled and was only able to notch a .245 batting average with just 62 home runs.
Early in his career, with the Braves and then the Cardinals, Heyward was a budding star, batting nearly .300 in his single season in St. Louis, and winning Wilson Defensive Player of the Year with Atlanta. He was even anointed as baseball’s next big star by the legendary Hank Aaron.
In his last two seasons with Chicago, Heyward plummeted, batted .214 and .204, respectively — leading the World Series hero to be released a season early with $22 million remaining on the books.
Heyward Makes His Comeback
After contemplating retirement, he signed with the LA Dodgers last season. At that point, he was only able to notch a minor-league deal, having to work his way up if he wanted to get back to the majors. After fixing his swing prior to 2023 Spring Training, Heyward did enough to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster and it paid dividends.
In a revived 2023 season, J-Hey put up a five-year high in batting average with .269 as well as an .813 OPS — his highest full-season mark since 2014. These numbers allowed him to cash the aforementioned $9 million check with Dave Roberts’ perennial World Series contenders.
Personal attacks hurt, especially when it’s coming from within.
Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has received it from fans and the media, but now it comes from his own general manager Brian Cashman. Recently, Cashman had an interview with the New York Daily News where he stated that Stanton would “more likely than not,” get injured next season.
Brian Cashman Does Giancarlo Stanton Dirty
“He’s going to wind up getting hurt again more likely than not because it seems to be part of his game,” Cashman said.
Being in a tough, New York market, Stanton has gotten criticism regarding his availability a ton. After all, he has battled through multiple injuries and has had four of his six seasons with the Yankees cut short by a wide margin — playing in less than 130 games.
To add to this, his play has seemingly slipped as he batted a career-low of .191 in the 2023 season.
With it coming from his own general manager though, it may have hurt Stanton more than anyone in the Yankee fan base could’ve ever done. Not only did Cashman address his injury issues, but Cashman did all but guarantee another injury for the former NL MVP.
While Stanton has yet to make a statement, his agent, Joel Wolfe did.
“I think it’s a good reminder for all free agents considering signing in New York both foreign and domestic that to play for a team you’ve got to be made of Teflon,” Wolfe told Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, “both mentally and physically because you can never let your guard down even in the offseason.”
Did Brian Cashman Cross The Line?
When a general manager speaks, it’s typically for a reason. Some have speculated that it may be a means of him getting Stanton to waive his clause in a potential trade, but certain lines shouldn’t be crossed within a ballclub.
In his interview, Cashman did call Stanton a great hitter when healthy, but injuries being “part of” Stanton’s game is a disparaging take and makes his aforementioned compliment backhanded.
The slugger has long been in trade rumors though, and this could be the last straw in a marriage that didn’t work out as expected in New York. Stanton is getting paid $32 million next season, and he only reached the All-Star Game once in his Yankee career.
Former Yankee Cameron Maybin also offered perspective on Cashman’s words, putting doubt in Stanton’s willingness to return to New York.
Cameron Maybin Suggests Giancarlo Stanton On Way Out Of NY
“I’m not putting words in his mouth but not so sure he wants to finish his career in the pinstripes,” Maybin said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I’m sure he’d like to finish somewhere that (actually) appreciates how’s he’s handle every sec of being in NYC.”
The problem for Cashman is his comments did nothing but lower Stanton’s trade value, whether true or not. It’s hard to imagine a team will be willing to give up anything of great value for someone whose general manager calls “injury-prone” — especially because he is under contract for the next four years.
Giancarlo Stanton’s Agents Also Represents Coveted Japanese Player Yoshinobu Yamamoto
To add to this, Stanton’s agent also represents highly touted Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto who entered the MLB market this fall and has received interest from Cashman and the Yankees.
This may not have been Cashman’s best chess move, but it could make an impact in one way, or another once New York puts its pinstripes on in the spring.