The Chicago Cubs have made another move to fortify their roster in their quest for their first postseason berth in seven years. This time the Cubs have acquired center fielder Austin Jackson from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for either a player-to-be-named later and a possible international slot as first reported by Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN AM in Seattle.
Jackson to the Cubs confirmed. #Mariners
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) August 31, 2015
The veteran center fielder arrived in Seattle in the middle of the 2014 season as part of the David Price blockbuster between the Mariners, Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays. He immediately took over center field for the Mariners. He has not been the same dynamic player he was with the Tigers as he batted leadoff for a lethal Detroit lineup. The Mariners brought him to Seattle to hopefully fill a void in center field.
He did not play well the rest of the 2014 season after the trade and entered 2015 hoping to have a better year for what was still a playoff-hopeful club. However both he and the Mariners have underachieved this year and are all but out of the playoff race for both the division and wild card. His Mariners career ends on a somber note as he batted only .257/.297/.343 over 684 plate appearances and only hit eight home runs and swiped only 26 bags between this year and the middle of 2014 when he arrived in Seattle.
He has been on a tear recently though as over the past 24 games as he has hit .337/.364/.474 and the Cubs are clearly hoping to see him continue this recent success to give them another potent bat for their lineup. The Mariners will deploy newly-turned-outfielder Brad Miller in center field for the rest of the season. The Cubs appear set in center field with veteran Dexter Fowler patrolling center field and youngster Kyle Schwarber seems to have found a home in left so Jackson may see a ton of playing time in right field and form a platoon with Chris Coghlan. Fowler is in the last year of his deal before he hits the free agent market so adding Jackson gives the Cubs a backup plan should Fowler bolt this offseason. Jackson is entering the final year of his deal before he hits the free agent market and it remains to be seen whether the Cubs will retain him or not beyond this year. This next month should be an audition period to see if he and the Cubs indeed make a good fit. With this trade he is no longer eligible to receive a qualifying offer at the end of the season.