Despite the recent signing of third baseman Juan Uribe, the Cleveland Indians appear to be on the move again in the free agent market. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the club is interested in signing veteran outfielder Austin Jackson to help bolster a unit that is arguably it’s weakest heading into spring training.
The 29-year old would not only be another outfielder in the Indians’ arsenal—along with Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, Abraham Almonte, and Rajai Davis, who the Indians signed this off-season—but he could potentially start in the outfield to start the season, due to the fact that Brantley’s return time is in question following his shoulder surgery in early November. The initial diagnosis was for Brantley to miss five-to-six months, and the team has offered little in the way of updates regarding their MVP candidate.
In six seasons in the league, the right-handed Jackson has played for Detroit (five seasons), Seattle (1.5), and the Chicago Cubs (0.5). He owns a .273 career batting average with 55 home runs, 296 RBIs, 106 stolen bases, 884 strikeouts, and a .732 OPS in his career. His best season came in 2012, when he had a .300 average with 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 134 strikeouts, and an .856 OPS with the Tigers.
While his skills are starting to decline, especially in the latter part of 2015 after he was traded to the Cubs, Jackson’s numbers show nearly equal production against both left-handed and right-handed pitching.
With the Tigers for five years, Jackson has plenty of experience playing in the AL Central. He has fared well against the Indians’ four divisional foes.
While Jackson’s numbers against the other four teams in the division are very good, here are his numbers playing in the five stadiums that make up the AL Central.
Along with Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, and Texas Rangers are also interested in signing Jackson. Though the Tribe made little noise early on in free agency, and opted for Uribe over the likes of David Freese, signing Jackson would provide the team with the depth they need to get through the early months of the season—months that have shown to set the tone for fan fare throughout the duration of the summer.