Austin Jackson very well may have put in the season in 2017 that exemplifies exactly what the Twins need in their lineup this year from a right-handed 1B/OF/DH. Jackson followed in the footsteps of two other successful part-time players for the Indians, Rajai Davis and Mike Napoli, and looked to turn back the clock on his career. Jackson started his career as a coveted prospect and had two seasons of .298 and .300 batting average but this year blew that out of the water.
In his limited role, Jackson was able to hit .318/.387/.482 and hit 7 home runs in 318 plate appearances. Defensively, he saw time at all three outfield positions. At the end of the season, he was thrust into the starting lineup with Michael Brantley’s injury and held down his spot in the lineup.
The concern with pursuing Jackson this offseason is that everyone has seen the 2017 season he turned in. Everyone will see the value in having Jackson on their bench so there could be a small bidding war for his services and this is a position on the Twins roster where they shouldn’t overpay. His outfield flexibility and performance at the plate would fit well as the Twins try to rest Kepler and Rosario against left-handed pitching.