Yankees ponder Heyward’s renaissance: Will he don the Pinstripes?

The player of the Cubs, Jason Heyward.
Esteban Quiñones
Thursday November 9, 2023

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In a surprising turn of events, Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe has thrown an unexpected name into the mix for the New York Yankees‘ offseason shopping list. During a recent visit to the MLB Flagship Store in Manhattan as part of Rawlings’ 2023 Gold Glove celebration, Volpe made a compelling case for considering Jason Heyward as a potential addition to the Bronx Bombers’ roster.

Anthony Volpe recommends Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward, a seasoned outfielder with an intriguing track record, might just be the under-the-radar free agent the Yankees need to bolster their lineup. While Heyward may not be the flashiest name in free agency, his unique skill set could make a valuable contribution to the team’s outfield needs.

General Manager Brian Cashman recently revealed that the Yankees are in the market for two outfielders, with a preference for left-handed hitters. This revelation has fueled speculation about potential additions to the roster, and Heyward’s name now enters the conversation.

Despite being 34 years old, Heyward displayed his enduring talent during the past season, particularly after joining the Los Angeles Dodgers following his release from the Chicago Cubs. He managed to produce a respectable 1.9 bWAR over 124 games, boasting a batting line of .269/.340/.473/.813 and a 117 OPS+. His on-base plus slugging (OPS) and OPS+ were the highest they had been since 2020, hinting at a resurgence in his capabilities.

Heyward’s versatility on the field is another appealing aspect of his potential candidacy. He is capable of playing all three outfield positions and even manned first base for a handful of games. This adaptability could make him a valuable asset for the Yankees, who require a mix of outfield coverage.

However, the real question surrounding Heyward’s candidacy is whether his recent performance indicates a late-career revitalization or if the Dodgers simply managed to squeeze more productivity from a declining player. In the two previous seasons with the Cubs, Heyward’s numbers were far less impressive, hitting just .211 with a .606 OPS.

The Yankees must assess whether Heyward’s resurgence is sustainable and if he can provide an upgrade over the players they experimented with in the outfield, including Jake Bauers and various castoffs. While Heyward predominantly played right field throughout his career, Cashman emphasized the team’s need for coverage in center field and left field.

Heyward’s extensive experience in right field, with 1,527 games played in that position, compared to only 227 games in center field and a mere seven games in left field, presents a potential obstacle. However, given Aaron Judge’s injury history, having an outfielder with the capability to seamlessly transition to right field when needed could be an invaluable asset.

In conclusion, while Jason Heyward may not be the first name that comes to mind in the Yankees’ offseason shopping list, his unique combination of skills, recent resurgence, and adaptability could make him a valuable asset for the Bronx Bombers. As the team searches for outfield solutions, Anthony Volpe’s suggestion of Heyward may warrant serious consideration, potentially adding a seasoned and versatile player to the Yankees’ roster for the upcoming season.

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