Texas Rangers rumors: Austin Jackson is someone who the Rangers have "kicked the tires" on, according to Jerry Crasnick on Twitter.
Just three days ago, interestingly (or maybe not interestingly), I said on Twitter that Jackson is the "realistic short-term" target I'd like to see the Rangers go after. There apparently is at least some cursory interest in Jackson by the Rangers, according to Crasnick, though it remains to be seen how serious that interest is.
Jackson, 29, was an 8th round pick out of Denton Ryan by the Yankees in 2005, and went to the Tigers in the 2009-10 offseason in the deal that sent Curtis Granderson to New York, Max Scherzer to Detroit and Ian Kennedy to the D-Backs. Jackson was a solid All-Star caliber two-way CF'er from 2010-13, but fell off in 2014, ultimately getting dealt to the Mariners in another three-way deal in July, 2014, as part of the trade that brought David Price to the Tigers. Jackson was then sent to the Cubs on August 31, 2015, for a player to be named later.
Jackson is a righthanded hitter who is still a solid defensive centerfielder, and he would give the Rangers a pair of righthanded bench options to use in order to give Mitch Moreland, Josh Hamilton, Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder days off against lefty starters. In addition, Jackson is probably better with the glove than Delino DeShields, and if (or when) Hamilton misses significant time, he would allow DeShields to move over to left field, with the Rangers not losing a whole lot in the deal.
The question, of course, is how much the Rangers are willing to pay for Jackson, and whether he'd be willing to accept a bench role here, albeit a bench role that, with Hamilton's situation, has a better than normal chance to turn into a more regular role. Jackson is young enough that he'd likely be looking for an opportunity to get regular playing time, in the hopes of re-establishing himself as a regular and getting a more lucrative deal next offseason. Even if he ends up in a bench role on a one year deal, though, he's probably going to be able to command at least a healthy salary (Jon Heyman pegged him at 3 years, $30M in his predictions), and the Rangers may feel like, with the outfielders they have in place, he's a luxury they don't really need.