Former Braves fan favorite set to return to Los Angeles

MLB: MAY 23 Dodgers at Braves

With Thanksgiving behind us, MLB free agency begins to really pick up. We’ve already seen the first couple of dominos fall in the starting pitching market, with Aaron Nola returning to Philadelphia and Sonny Gray set to sign with the Cardinals.

Both pitchers were reportedly on the Braves’ radar, and with Gray’s deal expected to be finalized any moment, they are off the table. But there’s another, much lesser move that is also expected to be done soon, as Jason Heyward is reportedly set to re-sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Heyward was a fan favorite in Atlanta from 2010-2014, making the NL All-Star team as a rookie and winning multiple Gold Glove awards. However, as the Braves prepared to enter a full-blown rebuild, they dealt Heyward to the Cardinals for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.

Miller and Jenkins never turned into much for the Braves, but they were able to flip Miller to the Diamondbacks for Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte, so it all turned out really well for Atlanta. Meanwhile, Heyward reached free agency and signed a lucrative deal worth $200 million with the Cubs, joining the Cardinals division rivals and helping them to a World Series.

Heyward never lived up to the contract he signed with Chicago or his lofty status as one of the league’s best prospects, but he signed a minor-league pact with Los Angeles and had a tremendous bounce back campaign for the Dodgers in 2023, appearing in 124 games and recording an .813 OPS.

I thought there was an outside chance the Braves would be interested in a reunion. There’s now an opening in left field following Eddie Rosario‘s departure, and Heyward would have been a cheap replacement that offers similar offensive numbers and better defense. However, he’ll remain with the Dodgers alongside Freddie Freeman, two guys that came up with the Braves at the same time.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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