What a ride 2023 has been for this Los Angeles Dodgers team. Once upon a time, it appeared as if they wouldn't have enough to make a World Series run, and now they're the hottest team in baseball. They're getting healthy at the right time and continue to get fortuitous performances from all over the roster to help pick up anybody who's struggling.
But just like 2020-2022, the Dodgers will be dealing with turnover in the offseason ... and a lot of it. They have eight everyday contributors hitting unrestricted free agency and five other key players with team options.
The front office now has had nearly five months to assess what makes the most sense for 2024 in terms of bringing certain guys back or making tough decisions. And with Shohei Ohtani the likely top target, LA will have to move fast when the 2023 campaign ends.
It won't matter if they win the World Series or not, either. After their victory in 2020, the Dodgers wasted no time parting with Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernández and Jake McGee, all of whom performed admirably for the team that year.
Getting ahead of some situations that seem like no-brainers is probably a good place to start for Andrew Friedman and Co. What makes the most sense with the way 2023 has played out?
4 offseason decisions the Dodgers already need to be thinking about
Bring back Jason Heyward?
Would any Dodgers fan argue with this? Heyward's witnessed a renaissance after reuniting with Freddie Freeman and re-working his swing. He's been a great veteran presence, too, which is exactly what you need from a fourth outfielder.
Come 2024, it'll be Mookie Betts and James Outman as everyday outfielders, and the team will probably have to address left field with a more steady option instead of going with a Heyward, Chris Taylor, David Peralta and whomever else platoon. Or maybe they do that again! Who knows.
Either way, Heyward has earned another year as a depth player with his .247 average, .798 OPS and 114 OPS+. He's struck out just 50 times! Definitely someone to keep at a bargain price if he's comfortable and helping the younger players, too.