There seems to be some heating up when it comes to Austin Jackson, who might end up playing for the Chicago Cubs again, but is getting a lot of interest from the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, although everything depends on how the free agency outfield market sorts itself out.
That mostly means where Yoenis Cespedes and maybe Dexter Fowler, another player who was on the Cubs last season, end up. Jackson, in terms of priorities and the amount of money he’ll be bound for, seems to be next in line. The 29-year old is coming off a disappointing stint with the Cubs after getting traded there from the Mariners, after doing quite well in Seattle. Jackson, making $7.7 million last season, hit just .236 for the Cubs with just one home run in 72 at bats, while not getting a single hit in the postseason.
For that, the Cubs are willing to bring him back only for the right price, whatever that may be. Meanwhile, for what he did in Seattle and previously in Detroit, overall being a .273 hitter in his career with a .732 OPS, he’s getting enough interest from outside Chicago. He makes sense for both the Brewers and the Angels but especially for the Rangers, even if his bat has diminished. He has good speed and defense at centerfield, and at his best provides a combination of abilities at the position few posses.
How much is Jackson looking for? Probably a multi year deal worth $10 million a season, maybe a bit more, but it won’t be surprising to see him take around $11-12 million on a one year deal if he struggles finding someone to cough up big money, positioning himself to make even more next season. Jackson has had up and down hitting sequences before, but doesn’t seem, at the moment, to be hitting some inevitable, unchangeable decline.
He’s still young enough to be more than averagely productive, and even if his designation is to play some left field, which might be the case for him in Los Angeles and with Milwaukee, he should be able to defend there just fine. Being someone who doesn’t have a lot of trouble batting against right handed or lefty pitchers means there’s another reason to want to sign him, even if he is the option that’s after Fowler, whenever he gets taken off the board.