Chicago Cubs: Is there a chance that outfielder Austin Jackson will return?
With pitchers and catcher’s reporting to training camps in mid-February and the rest of team joining them on the 23rd, there’s still a handful of players out there looking for work.
Earlier today, it was announced that the Chicago Cubs had gone out and signed former Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays infielder, Munenori Kawasaki to a minor-league deal. Our very own, Ryan Tadych covered the story for Cubbies Crib.
The decision to bring in Kawasaki means that Arismendy Alcantara and Tommy La Stella, just to name a few, will have some deep competition as the club enters a brand new campaign, hoping to surpass the National League Championship Series.
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It’s always a plus to have some competition brewing at every position imaginable since it motivates those who are expected to make the 25-man roster push themselves even harder.
And there’s no such thing as having very little or too much of something when it comes to professional sports. Especially baseball with all the minor-league teams under each big league club.
Now according to MLB Trade Rumors, the Chicago Cubs may be looking to add depth in the outfield by possibly bringing back Denton, Texas native Austin Jackson.
Other teams interested just so happen to be the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, and don’t be surprised if the Chicago White Sox end up throwing their name in the hat.
Jackson, 28, was traded to the Cubs from the Seattle Mariners on August 31 in exchange for an international free agent bonus slot. The deal went down shortly after right fielder Jorge Soler was placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury, so Jackson was acquired at the right time.
Despite finishing the year with minimum damage in the batter’s box, he still provided the team with speed across the field. His biggest hit as a Cub was a three-run shot while on the road against the Cincinnati Reds.
His three-run bomb helped the North Siders defeat their N.L. Central Rivals by the final score of 5-3 with the hopes of having home-field advantage in the N.L. Wild Card game against Pittsburgh.
When looking at this roster, Chicago will have Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and Soler starting from left to right, leaving Chris Coghlan and possibly Matt Szczur coming off the bench.
Next: Cubs sign Munenori Kawasaki to deal
Re-signing Jackson could mean that Szczur begins the year back in Iowa with the Triple-A affiliate, serving as another emergency back up like he did in 2015.
In 29 games as a member of the Cubs, Jackson came through with 17 hits, seven doubles, one home run as mentioned, 10 RBI, five walks, and two stolen bases while hitting .236/.304/.375.
So now, we’ll have to wait and see if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer decide to make him an offer over the next couple weeks.