Dodgers Jason Heyward update means Opening Day roster battle down to two names

Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day
Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Turns out, the Los Angeles Dodgers probably had a pretty good idea of what Jason Heyward's reworked swing could do for him back when they tossed a life raft his way this offseason.

All it took was a few weeks' worth of Spring Training production to reinforce what the Dodgers had already planned for, possibly at Freddie Freeman's urging.

According to manager Dave Roberts this week, the drama of the Heyward roster decision is nonexistent; he's making the club.

"'I think it’s a safe bet,' Roberts said of Heyward’s chances of making the major league team. 'He’s come to spring training with this new revamped swing that, it looks like he’s done it for a long time.'"

Jack Harris, LA Times

Out with the Bellinger, in with the Heyward. As difficult as it would've been to believe only a few months ago, Heyward -- who hit .204 last season and is down to .172 this spring with a pair of solo home runs -- is now the "safe bet" in the outfield picture (likely made safer when Chris Taylor was forced into infield duty).

So, which roster questions remain as the regular season approaches? According to True Blue LA's Eric Stephen, the conversation now turns to super-rookie James Outman and utility man Yonny Hernandez, who could absorb Miguel Rojas' old duties and mimic Hanser Alberto's 2022 performance.

And, to that we say ... don't you want to bring the potential star outfielder north rather than doubling down on an Alberto type (who, by the way, hit .244 last season with a .258 OBP and found himself nontendered)?

With all due respect to the 24-year-old Hernandez, who hit .083 in limited duty last season, Outman is on a different level as a player. The Dodgers' plan for covering infield reps doesn't exactly breed confidence, but adding another middling name in Hernandez to the picture wouldn't alleviate any of that concern. It would only create more worries.

Adding Outman to the Opening Day roster? Suddenly, the ceiling is higher. And, with one decision remaining, the choice is clear.