Andrew Heaney’s spectacular regression is what Dodgers really paid for

Thomas Carannante
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: Andrew Heaney #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on after surrendering a third inning home run against Starling Marte #6 of the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: Andrew Heaney #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on after surrendering a third inning home run against Starling Marte #6 of the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Well, it was fun while it lasted. Los Angeles Dodgers fans are now experiencing the Andrew Heaney Rollercoaster, which might actually be a new addition to Disneyland if he manages another wild loop in the narrative.

When LA signed Heaney before the lockout (very quickly after the 2021 season ended, too!) for $8.5 million, most MLB fans laughed. Did you not just see what he did with the New York Yankees? How can anybody justify even half of that investment in this guy?

But we all know the Dodgers. They find solutions that nobody else can see to problems that nobody else wants to be bothered with anymore. So they took the plunge with an “overpay” they could easily afford.

When spring training arrived and he was predictably getting shelled, fans weren’t happy. But then came his first two starts on April 12 and 17, during which he allowed one unearned run on four hits and three walks across 10.1 innings. He struck out 16 batters in those games against the Twins and Reds.

Pretty awesome! But then he hit the injured list and didn’t return until June 19. That day, he pitched five innings and allowed one run on five hits and a walk while striking out seven … before landing on the IL again. He missed another five weeks and returned on July 27 to toss four shutout innings in a win over the Nationals.

Then, you could say, the regression officially began.

Andrew Heaney has been a wild rollercoaster ride for the Dodgers

It all culminated on Labor Day when he was shelled by the San Francisco Giants in a 7-4 loss. He allowed six earned runs on six hits and a walk, including FOUR home runs. His eight strikeouts were impressive, but they weren’t enough to overshadow the damage.

Heaney has now allowed multiple home runs in three of his last four starts. Though his strikeout numbers are there (a remarkable 36 punchouts in his last 22 innings), the length isn’t (he’s averaging less than 4.2 innings per outing since July 27), which is putting a strain on the bullpen.

The blow-up Heaney start was bound to happen, and this was it. His outing against the Brewers on Aug. 18 could’ve been viewed as an outlier, but his performance in a larger picture since then has suggested this is what the Dodgers paid for. Even though he seemed fixable at the onset of his Dodgers tenure, this is who Heaney is, as evidenced by his career numbers.

Expect nothing more than a bullpen role for him when the postseason arrives. In the meantime, he’ll have to eat innings in the rotation with the countless injuries LA has suffered. Let’s just hope his trips to the mound the rest of the way aren’t mostly what he’s offered over the last three weeks.

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