Austin Jackson may be a Seattle Mariner now, but odds are he’ll be playing elsewhere next season. If not tomorrow.
It’s getting towards the end of baseball season, and the eventual playoff picture is more clear than ever. The haves and have-nots are much more well-defined now than they were even at the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, and as such the number of teams looking to buy is smaller than it was before. But with the needy now needier than ever, it’s still likely we see some not-insignificant trades go down.
The Seattle Mariners haven’t really done anything in August aside from the charmingly invigorating DFA of Fernando Rodney. There isn’t anything really obvious for them to do other than start dumping veterans – which, as it turns out, might be what’s next for them. Not that it’s particularly exciting, just that there’s not really any reason not to.
Austin Jackson has been a disaster – well, maybe not a disaster, but a shell of what he was expected to be, that’s for sure – since joining the Mariners in the three-team David Price trade on July 31st, 2014. This year he’s hitting better than last year, but still worse than anyone expected when he was acquired. So perhaps it’s no surprise to learn that he’s cleared waivers, and can now be traded to any team:
If this tweet is to be believed – which, yeah, why wouldn’t it be? – then A-Jax was placed on revocable waivers and passed on by all 29 non-Mariners teams. That doesn’t mean he can’t be traded, it just means that nobody wanted to just take his contract. So now he can be traded to any team! And it sounds like that might actually happen.
Austin Jackson isn’t having a good year, and he’s not going to help the 2015 Mariners do anything other than finish fourth (or last). But he’s not a useless player, and could provide some value to a contender in need of a speedy center fielder. Which explains why there have been apparent talks of shipping him out of town, according to that Morosi tweet.
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On the year, Jackson is hitting .259/.302/.364 with seven home runs. His defense in center has graded well, bringing his overall production up to 1.6 WAR over 427 plate appearances. So definitely not useless! There are teams that could use a guy like that as a reinforcement down the stretch.
Who might want Jackson, then? The Dodgers just announced that Joc Pederson has lost his starting job, and could probably use the depth. The Giants just traded for Marlon Byrd, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have a need for outfield defense. The Angels have been hoarding role-playing outfielders, and Jackson would give them another part to mix and match. The Nationals could have a use for him. A lot of teams could have a use for him.
What would Jackson fetch in return? Nothing, really. Salary relief and a fringey prospect. He’ll be a free agent after the season, and the season is over in less than six weeks. The Mariners should make a deal if they can get a prospect who interests them in the slightest. Or if they can’t, really. Money saved is money that could be re-invested in the 2016 team.
We’re close to closing out Austin Jackson’s tenure as a Seattle Mariner. The “era” is almost certain to end with the season, unless his departure comes even sooner than that. It’s hard to look at Jackson as anything but a massive letdown, which is unfortunate. But hey, at least he only cost Nick Franklin!
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