Last night, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that the Washington Nationals and Chris Heisey have agreed on a one-year deal to return to D.C.
During the 2016 season, one of the key players for the Washington Nationals was outfielder Chris Heisey. Now, Heisey will be back on the bench in 2017. Last night, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweeted that Heisey has agreed to a one-year deal with bonuses to return to D.C:
Chris Heisey has agreed to a one-year, $1.4 million contact with the #Nationals. Deal also includes performance bonuses.
In 83 games this past season, Heisey had a slash line of .216/.290/.446 with nine home runs and 17 RBI’s. While the batting average isn’t great, the 31-year-old provided versatility off the bench by being able to play all three outfield positions. He played 25 games in left field, 16 games in right field, and even three games in center field.
When Dusty Baker called on him in pinch-hitting situations in 2016, Heisey found a way to deliver more often than not. Out of his nine home runs, three of them came in a pinch-hitting role (tied for the team lead with Stephen Drew).
The two most memorable home runs from Heisey this season were his walk-off home run in the 16th inning against the Twins (April 28) and his two-run home run in the seventh inning during Game 5 of the NLDS. Out of his 61 career home runs, 20 of them have come off the bench (according to Baseball Reference).
One of the biggest improvements the Washington Nationals had this past season compared to 2015 was they had more depth on the bench and it showed in the stats. The Nats hit 12 pinch-hit home runs this season, which was the third most in all of baseball and seven more than they had in 2015 (five).
Wherever Baker goes, Heisey seems to always be on his team. Out of the seven years that Heisey has been in the league, he has played for Baker in five of those seasons, including his first four years with the Cincinnati Reds (2010-2013). In 2011, Heisey hit 18 home runs and drove in 50 runs (both career-highs) in 120 games.
Last offseason, the Nats signed Heisey to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training after he appeared in 33 games with the Dodgers in 2015. Heisey made the most of his opportunity and will now be back wearing the curly W next season.