Sources: Austin Jackson to giants. 6M, 2 Years. Elevators coukd take it to 8.5M.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 23, 2018
Jackson is the latest veteran addition in a busy offseason for the Giants—the club added Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen in deals with the Rays and Pirates, respectively. In an age where teams are actively pursuing young, cost-controlled talent, the Giants went with experience and proven track records as they look to head back to the Postseason in 2018.
The deal guarantees Jackson $3 million per year, with incentives that can raise it to $4.25 million annually. Jackson should serve as the mainstay in centerfield for San Francisco, with Hunter Pence and McCutchen at the corners.
Jackson, 30, produced a 1.9 bWAR for the AL Central Champion Indians last season in just 318 plate appearances (85 games). Jackson's 126 OPS+ in 2017 was the eight-year veteran's highest single-season mark since 2012. He plays solid defense, doesn't cost San Francisco a draft pick via the Qualifying Offer clause, and probably got less money than free agent outfielder Lorenzo Cain will receive later this offseason.
While Jackson seemingly broke out (again) last season, his offensive production from 2013-2016 indicate he may be little more than a below-average hitter. In the four seasons prior to 2017, Jackson logged exactly 2000 plate appearances, but posted just a .264/.319/.378 slashline and was caught stealing almost half as often as he successfully stole bases (47 stolen bases, 21 times caught stealing). The Giants are hoping he can carry his recent offensive success into AT&T Park for the next two seasons.
Our Chris Cotillo has a full breakdown of the Giants' acquisitions of McCutchen and Longoria earlier this offseason: