St. Louis Cardinals: 4 Under the Radar Outfield Free Agents to Consider
3. Austin Jackson – Can play LF, CF, or RF
Austin Jackson has previously come up in St. Louis Cardinals rumors. This 2017 offseason will be his first opportunity to capitalize on free agency, but he sits behind some other outfielders that are going to get the majority of the attention. Jackson isn’t Dexter Fowler or Yoenis Cespedes, but he gets the job done.
Austin Jackson, like Rajai Davis and Angel Pagan, would fit better into the bottom third of the batting order. He batted .254/.318/.343 with 0 home runs and 15 RBI in 54 games. Jackson suffered a knee injury that required surgery on a torn meniscus in August that shut him down for the remainder of the 2016 season. In 2015, where Jackson played 136 games, he hit 9 home runs with 48 RBI while slashing .267/.311/.385.
The 29-year old outfielder was typically known as a solid defender that can man all three outfield positions while primarily being a center fielder. However, in 2016 his UZR was a shockingly low -4.6 in CF. But, as previously stated, 2016 was a down year and he also missed the majority of the season with a serious knee injury. Furthermore, in 2015, Jackson had an above average CF UZR with a solid 7.5 so there’s reason to believe he still is a very strong defender.
Overall, Jackson would be a bit of a gamble given his injury history. His ability to bounce back from knee surgery is unknown at this point but if the St. Louis Cardinals believe he can return to form, then Jackson has the potential to be the strong defender in CF that they are looking for.