Dodgers Active Roster: What Can Fans Expect from Jason Heyward in 2023?

If you would have told fans of the Dodgers at the conclusion of last year’s World Series that someone like Jason Heyward would be a key part of the 2023 Opening Day roster, they probably would not have believed you. After all, with a packed house like Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Trayce Thompson, Chris Taylor and an emerging James Outman, there wasn’t much room for additions.

However, the Dodgers decided to part ways with Bellinger, prompting the need for some kind of additional experience in the outfield, at least from the standpoint of defense. When the smoke finally cleared at the onset of spring, the club secured David Peralta on a one-year deal and snagged Jason Heyward on a minor league pact. For additional security, there was a contingency plan in place consisting of Bradley Zimmer and Steven Duggar, plus J.D. Martinez, who hasn’t flashed his outfield glove in almost two seasons.

Is There Anything Left in the Tank?

Heyward is interesting because he’s only three years removed from his 2019 season when he hit a productive .251/.343/.429 with the Cubs, collecting 21 long balls, 20 doubles and driving in 62 runs in the process. He has five career Gold Gloves under his belt, signifying that he’s more than capable on defense, even in his age 33 season.

The lefty-hitting New Jersey native had a decent start to spring camp and Cactus League play, leading skipper Dave Roberts to reveal early that Heyward would most likely be a part of the active roster come Opening Day. Nevertheless, Heyward’s decline in output over the last month saw him produce a paltry .20/.304/.415 slash line this spring. Obviously, numbers are usually unimportant in Cactus League, but one can probably assume that Heyward will be a part-time outfield option, taking a backseat to the core group of Betts, Thompson and Outman.

Heyward may end up sticking around until he either hits his stride or gives the team no other option but to let him go due to productivity. If he ends up rediscovering his swing, he’ll be a steal since the Cubs are still paying for his salary and the Dodgers will be on the hook only for the league minimum.

Heyward still needs a spot on the organizational 40-man roster, but that task should come easy when the club places Gavin Lux on the 60-day disabled list in the coming days.

2023 Outlook

Anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s for how Heyward will produce during the upcoming season. If he embraces his role and proves his value, his playing time could increase, or vice-versa if he’s unable to contribute.  Of all the big predictor engines, Steamer is the friendliest, indicating a .231/.310/.372 slash line with nine homers and 38 RBI over 99 appearances and 320 AB.

At this stage, the outfield could be a work in progress for the Dodgers and conceivably be an entirely different animal at the stretch run of the regular season. If guys like Peralta and Heyward end up not producing, it could possibly open the door for someone like the lefty-hitting Michael Busch to make his MLB debut, whether at second base or left field. Similarly, if Taylor continues to produce inconsistently on offense, it could warrant the team to make a significant splash at the summer trade deadline, primarily at shortstop.

Let’s Talk About the Dodgers Bench

As we’ve talked about many times here at TBPC, the Los Angeles Dodgers offense is incredibly robust. While individual players may slump here or there, overall there are not many holes in this lineup.

With a blip against Eric Lauer on Monday, the Dodgers offense have shown their prowess against two of the top starting pitchers in the National League. On Sunday, the Dodgers knocked Cy Young leader Sandy Alcantara out of the game in the fourth inning, tagging him for six earned runs. Then on Tuesday night, the Dodgers also chased Corbin Burnes out of the game in the fourth, after he had allowed seven earned runs in 3.2 innings.

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Dodgers Roster: How Will Outfield Shape Up for 2022 Postseason?

While the Los Angeles starting rotation and bullpen will likely see many significant changes over the next six weeks, the position player portion of the roster could be relatively set.

Sure, there could be a few arguments made for the inclusion of someone like James Outman — or Miguel Vargas, who can play a little outfield — but unless someone goes extremely cold or another injury occurs, the outfielders on the roster right now may be the ones we see come October.

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Dodgers News and Notes – Vargas Gets Start in Outfield at OKC, Romero Debut and More

The Los Angeles Dodgers won their first game of their nine game road trip Tuesday night in Cincinnati. The offense appeared to make a resurgence, scoring eight runs and spreading the scoring out throughout the game, capping it with a four run eighth inning.

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Dodgers Trade for Trayce Thompson to Help with Outfield Depth

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been struggling at the plate as of late, and they’ve lost their leadoff hitter and right fielder to boot.

On Sunday, Mookie Betts was placed on the IL, dealing with bruised ribs. Betts sustained the injury on a miscommunication on a fly ball with Cody Bellinger, who ended up running into him and causing the discomfort.

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Dodgers Looking to Add Depth in Outfield

Well here we are, another Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers are still in first in the NL West, and one of the top teams in baseball.

Another Monday, and it still feels like this team is sleepwalking through the season. Another Monday, and the injury merry-go-round is still happening.

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Can Jake Lamb Earn Spot on Dodgers’ 2022 Opening Day Roster?

One of several different looks that 2022 Opening Day will see is 28 players on each club’s active roster. This rule will last through the month of April and was primarily created because of the limited time pitchers will have to prepare for the season. While many teams may load up on pitchers, each club can use these extra roster spots as they wish.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at James Outman

If you’re a minor league baseball fan, one of the coolest things about spring training is seeing some of the most promising young prospects taking hacks against big-league pitching. What’s even more interesting is when some of these players are freshly anointed to the 40-man roster, knowing that their respective regular-season debuts could be coming soon.

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Juan Soto and Freddie Freeman – Future Dodgers?

The original start of Spring Training, when pitchers and catchers were to report, has come and gone, and yet no agreement has been met between the owners and players. The season most definitely will not start in time.

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Gavin Lux Is Changing Dynamics of Dodgers Outfield

While some of the main foundations of the Dodgers’ roster have stayed the same over the course of the 2021 season, there are many that have taken on a new look, including an outfield crew that now features Gavin Lux.

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