Chicago Cubs Gradeout: Austin Jackson provided club with depth in outfield
Before August, the Chicago Cubs went out and made several trades that reeled in veteran Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter during the non-waiver trade period.
Shortly after, Theo Epstein made a few more trades with the Seattle Mariners to acquire both former closer Fernando Rodney and speedy outfielder, Austin Jackson. The decision to find themselves another outfield came when Jorge Soler found himself on the disabled list for the second time.
Prior to his second stint on the DL, Soler missed a month of action after injuring his ankle during a road trip against Haren’s former team, the Miami Marlins in early June and didn’t return until early July.
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He later accompanied Jason Motte by watching club make a chase for the postseason from the dugout. Which resulted in the Cubs giving up an international signing bonus.
Now, the stats you see below his grade are with the Cubs. And like Soler, Jackson was placed on the disabled list (15-day) after suffering an ankle injury of his own in a game against the Houston Astros back in early June.
Jackson wrapped up the 2015 campaign with 131 hits, 25 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, and 48 RBI while slashing .267/.311/.385 between the Cubs and Mariners.
While in Seattle, the 28-year-old outfielder made over 100 appearances in center field. Once he made the move to the North Side of Chicago, Joe Maddon changed things up, placing him in left field and right field aside from his primary position.
In total, he made four starts in center, two in left, and another six in right for Soler who was slowly making his comeback.
With the Chicago Cubs advancing to the N.L.D.S. against the St. Louis Cardinals, being in the postseason wasn’t something new to the five-year veteran.
Jackson scored only one time on a squeeze play in St. Louis and went 0-for-8 with one walk, five strikeouts, and one stolen base. Granted he received limited playing time with Kyle Schwarber, Chris Coghlan, and Kris Bryant picking up some starts in the outfield, Jackson could be an option as Dexter Fowler‘s replacement.
That is if Fowler decides to sign elsewhere once he declines Chicago’s qualifying offer. If he does, the Cubs will receive a draft pick in return and they’ll have to search the free agent market.
So why not bring him back? He has experience batting in the lead-off spot and the Cubs could save potential trade pieces for a trade that could land them another pitcher.