Austin Jackson, OF
Cleveland’s outfield could use all the help that is available. Lonnie Chisenhall is solid in right field, but the keys are left and center field. The Indians need Brantley to get back to the player he once was in left.
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Unfortunately, that is not guaranteed which is why it was foolish for Cleveland to take on his option. Meanwhile, Bradley Zimmer must solidify the starting gig in center. His potential as a five-tool player needs to be reached.
Even if just one of them plays the way Cleveland is hoping for, the need is still there… even if it is just for depth purposes.
Enter Austin Jackson, who can play all three spots in the outfield and would be a welcomed face if he was signed by Cleveland again.
The veteran outfielder hasn’t played in 100+ games in a season since 2015. Assuming Brantley doesn’t play up to expectations or if he suffers another injury, that streak could come to an end.
How Jackson hasn’t been signed even to just come off the bench yet is a surprise. Jackson, who wasn’t re-signed by the Indians following the 2017 season would at the very least provide depth but more importantly stability. Jackson signed with Cleveland for $1.5 million last offseason.
The talents in the outfield will make or break Cleveland’s 2018 season. Jackson’s slash line with Cleveland was .318/ .387/ .482/ .869 in 85 games with seven home runs and 35 RBI.
Honestly, I’d rather see Jackson in a full-time role than Brantley but that is not going to happen. Yes, Jackson’s numbers weren’t ideal for a part-time role but there’s no reason why they can’t be improved upon.
That said, the Indians would be wise to bring back someone like Jackson to platoon at the very least.