Our long, regional nightmare is finally over. The White Sox have signed an outfielder.
It's not Yoenis Cespedes. Not Alex Gordon or Justin Upton. It's not Jason Heyward, nor is it Dexter Fowler.
It's not Carlos Gonzalez or Jay Bruce.
Nope, our new hero is named Austin Jackson.
Breaking: Austin Jackson has deal with white sox. $5M.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 6, 2016
The White Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the 29-year-old on Sunday worth $5 million. And while Jackson lacks the flash of any of the aforementioned outfielders, all of whom were just a few of the possible targets entering the season, he fills an important need for a team that figures to contend in the American League Central, and at the very least provides some much-needed depth.
Jackson is far from a perfect acquisition. His bat was almost entirely missing in 2015, and he hasn't hit with any sort of consistency since early in the 2014 season before Detroit dealt him to Seattle. But even if his bat remains abysmal, he's a good enough defensive outfielder to provide a significant upgrade. Furthermore, he pushes Avisail Garcia to the bench and provides insurance should Adam Eaton take longer than expected to return to form after offseason shoulder surgery.
One would expect that, at full strength, the White Sox would play Jackson in centerfield and Eaton would move to right field, where he profiles as a solid defender. Jackson also reportedly turned down more money from the Angels because of the White Sox's opening in center.
This move leads to the potential of the White Sox having two above-average defenders in their outfield as opposed to MAYBE one, depending on what you thought of Eaton in center. That's the kind of thing that matters.