The Rangers have designated recently-acquired outfielder Austin Jackson for assignment, per an announcement from John Blake, the team’s executive vice president of communications:
OF Austin Jackson who was acquired from SF on Sunday, has been designated for assignment. Major league roster at 39.— John Blake (@RangerBlake) July 11, 2018
It’s been a rough year for Jackson, who was bumped off his hometown Rangers’ roster without ever appearing in a game for them. The Rangers told Jackson to hold off on reporting to the team, per a report from the The Dallas Morning News’ Gerry Fraley, so this is a move that’s been known to be a possibility since Jackson was traded to Texas on Sunday.
Jackson, 31, posted a very strong .318/.387/.482 slash line in a part-time role with the Indians last year, so this season has presented him with a very unfortunate turn of events. He signed an incentive-laden two-year, $6 million contract with the Giants in January; he presumably could have earned quite a bit more on the free-agent market, but he chose a situation that seemed to be favorable for him in terms of playing time, sacrificing guaranteed money to help the Giants stay under the competitive-balance tax threshold this year. While Jackson went into the season as the Giants’ starting center fielder, he was quickly passed up by breakout performer Gorkys Hernandez at that position. Jackson struggled to get going at the plate, posting a .242/.309/.295 slash line wtih no homers in 165 plate appearances, and he received just one start after June 16. With 24-year-old Steven Duggar presenting a cheaper, better-fielding mix-and-match option in the Giants’ outfield, the team took advantage of the opportunity to package Jackson with reliever Cory Gearrin and rising pitching prospect Jason Bahr on Sunday in exchange for a player to be named later or cash, getting the Giants firmly under the CBT threshold and allowing them to infuse some youth into the lineup.
The Rangers will now have seven days to trade Jackson, release him, or try to outright him to Triple-A; he’d almost certainly reject an outright assignment, but he does live near Austin, home of Texas’ Triple-A affiliate. There may not be a ton of immediate opportunities for Jackson considering the wealth of outfield talent around baseball right now, but he should be able to latch on somewhere since he’ll likely be available for the pro-rated league minimum, assuming he clears release waivers. A reunion with the Indians would make a whole lot of sense, as they’ve gotten inconsistent results from Tyler Naquin, Brandon Guyer, Rajai Davis, Greg Allen, and Bradley Zimmer and are currently without the injury-riddled Lonnie Chisenhall. Other teams that could use some veteran outfield depth include the Angels, Braves, and Rockies.