Heyward, 34, spent last season with the Dodgers. He hit .269/.340/.473 (117 OPS+) with 15 home runs in 124 games. His contributions were worth an estimated 1.9 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference's calculations. That represented his highest mark since the 2019 season. Heyward had previously posted a miserable two-year stint that dampened his future outlook -- he batted just .211/.280/.326 (65 OPS+) in more than 500 plate appearances split across the 2021-22 seasons. The Dodgers nevertheless brought him to camp as a non-roster invitee, and he was subsequently able to earn a roster spot and salvage his career.
Here's the statistic that sums up Heyward's last few years: his 117 OPS+ in 2023 was nearly as high as the sum of his OPS+ in the previous two seasons (125). Heyward, who remains a brilliant defensive outfielder, barreled the ball more often and posted the lowest ground-ball rate of his career. Someone will likely enter next spring with designs on him serving as a contact and on-base-heavy option against right-handed pitching.
The Dodgers outfield depth chart now features some combination of Heyward, Mookie Betts, James Outman, Chris Taylor, and Jonny Deluca. David Peralta, who appeared in 133 games with Los Angeles last season, is a free agent -- as is J.D. Martinez, the Dodgers' designated hitter.
Heyward is the Dodgers' first notable addition this winter. He's unlikely to be the last. Los Angeles is presumed to be one of the top suitors for two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani.