New York Mets: Pros and cons of the unexpected Austin Jackson signing
The New York Mets added Austin Jackson to the roster in one of the most unexpected moves possible. What does he offer this team?
In a week where the New York Mets should look to subtract veteran talent, the three-headed general manager actually added someone.
Hours before they traded Asdrubal Cabrera, the Mets signed free agent outfielder Austin Jackson. The buy-low move is a questionable one for sure. Why would they need him?
I’ve been turning over the pros and cons of this signing in my head. Jackson is a good fit for the Mets if they had signed him in May when they needed outfield depth. In July, it’s a peculiar move.
The mental pros column I have tell me that Jackson will help the younger players on this team learn a thing or two about being a professional. Now in his ninth MLB season, Jackson has the experience his teammates can only hope to accumulate.
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Jackson played well for the Cleveland Indians last season in a part-time role. This year, as a member of the San Francisco Giants in a more regular starting gig, he didn’t fare nearly as well. His -1.2 WAR on the season is dragged down mainly by his poor defensive metrics. This leads me to the cons of the signing, which there appear to be plenty.
Other than obviously taking away at-bats from kids, Jackson isn’t going to upgrade the Mets defense. At this stage of his career, he belongs in the corner outfield. I think center field should belong to Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto for the remainder of 2018. Now is the time to see if either can improve at the position and possibly secure it in 2019.
Additionally, I’m not quite sure Jackson even is a good locker room influence. The stereotype for players who have traveled as much as he has in a short span is typically negative. Since 2014, Jackson has worn a uniform for six different teams. I’m purely speculating here on this. With nothing to go on about his personality, I can’t see why the Mets would even think of it as a plus.
Perhaps the signing was more to save Matt den Dekker from further embarrassment. He failed to pick up a single hit in his recent stint with the Mets with more than a dozen opportunities to do so.
When I weigh out the pros and cons of this signing, I feel more neutral about it than anything else. I understand it because this team doesn’t have the outfield depth it needs. As much as I would like to see them give Dominic Smith an opportunity, Jackson isn’t taking a roster spot from him right now. He lost his and I do believe the Mets are hoping to move him this offseason.
At best, Jackson gives the Flushing 25 a little spark and can teach the young outfielders over the next two months. If they are able to trade Jose Bautista, he would take over the leadership role he held.
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Like it, love it, or have no opinion whatsoever; this is one of the most unexpected moves the Mets could have made in late July.