Dodgers Free Agent Who Will Return: Jason Heyward
Jason Heyward played the 2023 season like he was on a mission to reestablish his relevance after a swing tweak seemed poised to return him to the land of the living. Freddie Freeman saw it, and gave the Dodgers the heads up that his old minor-league Braves teammate from way back in the pipeline had a little something working.
Turns out, the pair of ex-Bravos was correct; Heyward put up 1.9 bWAR, 15 homers, a 117 OPS+, and a 2.5 Memorable Rain Delay Speeches Above Average. He wasn't just the 26th man who held the clubhouse together that it seemed like he might be when spring training wrapped. He was super glue, helping to patch together the outfield while returning to the exit velocities of his youth.
While Heyward can earn a slight pay bump on the $720k (!!!) he ended up making on a whim in 2023, it would be foolish for the Dodgers to look elsewhere just because their chemistry faltered in a small sample size yet again. Clubhouse pep isn't a reason to bring back David Peralta, but it's a piece of Heyward's puzzle -- which also just so happens to include an above-average bat.
Los Angeles needs to change some foundational things. They don't need to change everything. Heyward should stay.