The San Francisco Giants are one of the few teams to have a really clear picture of their opening day roster now. The one question going into today was center field. Now, we have an answer.
The San Francisco Giants have added Austin Jackson on a two year deal that keeps them just under the Luxury Tax Threshold for 2017. Jackson’s contract is reportedly 2 years for $6million dollars, meaning Bobby Evan’s did a hell of a job constructing a roster on paper.
Austin Jackson, statistically, was the best free agent center-fielder on the market not named Lorenzo Cain. Jackson is coming off a great rebound season with the Cleveland Indians. After starring in center-field for the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners, Jackson had a rough go of it with the Chicago White-Sox.
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After moving to the Cleveland Indians to be their “Rajai Davis” for 2017, he had his best offensive season since 2012 with the Tigers. Jackson posted an .869 OPS with his best walk rate (10%) since that 2012 season.
The Giants surely need an on-base threat at the top of the lineup. If Austin Jackson can’t provide that to a level satisfiable, certainly Joe Panik can jump in with no problem. What matters more with Jackson is his glove in centerfield. He’s beyond his record setting 2012 defensive season, which would always be difficult to replicate (26 DRS, 7.8 UZR). But he still is a solid centerfielder.
Buster Olney, tweeted earlier this week that Jackson would be a great platoon partner for Duggar as he get’s up to “big league speed.” Jackson hit over .300 against lefties last year, and would be the perfect right-handed pair with a lefty like Steven Duggar. Duggar’s defense is certainly ready, it’s the bat that’s the question with him. His righty/lefty splits aren’t great so someone with experience and ability like Jackson is perfect.
Overall this move is a great move for Bobby Evans. He fits under the Lux Tax Threshold, and gives the Giants a real solution in centerfield.
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Stay tuned as we get closer to Spring Training! We’ll be previewing the roster and spring training invites!