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Giants Sign Austin Jackson, Still Need Center Fielder


The Giants have signed Austin Jackson to a two-year, $6 million deal. The almost 31-year-old Jackson had a productive 2017 season, hitting .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs in 318 plate appearances for the Indians. However, don’t expect that type of production to continue into 2018, especially if he’s a full-time player.

On the surface, this signing looks like a good one for the Giants, but the deeper you dive in, the murkier it gets. The first major issue is that Jackson is now a defensive reliability in center field. All of the defensive metrics rate him below or way below average. The Giants may still need to bring in a legit center fielder, especially if he gets any worse.

The second major issue is that most of Jackson’s damage last season came against left-handed pitching (141 plate appearances against lefties; 171 against righties). League-wide, only 25% of all matchups are with a lefty on the mound, while Jackson was closer to 50% in 2017. Last season, he posted a 1.013 OPS against lefties. Jackson has always hit lefties well, but some regression is still coming for anyone with a 1.013 OPS. If he’s playing close to full time, his numbers against righties are going to bring down his overall production.

Both factors make it tough to see Jackson getting a full season of plate appearances in 2018.

Previous Hot Stove Analysis

Blue Jays Acquire Randal Grichuk

Blue Jays Sign Curtis Granderson

Giants Trade for Andrew McCutchen

Astros Acquire Gerrit Cole

Twins Grab Their Closer, Sign Addison Reed

Mets Bring Back Jay Bruce on Three-Year Deal

Toronto Acquires Yangervis Solarte from San Diego

Royals, Dodgers, and White Sox Complete Three-Way Trade

Rockies Fill Closer Vacancy with Wade Davis

Arizona Adds Bullpen Depth with Yoshihisa Hirano

Indians Fill First-Base Void with Yonder Alonso

Brewers Bolster Rotation with Jhoulys Chacin

Orioles Lose Zach Britton, Brad Brach Likely Closer

Giants Add Evan Longoria, Rays Create a Mess

Red Sox Bring Back Mitch Moreland

CC Sabathia Returns to Yankees

Dodgers-Braves Make Five-Player Trade

Angels in the Infield: Zack Cozart Signs with Los Angeles

Phillies Ink Carlos Santana to Three-Year Deal

Everyone’s Signing Relievers, But Who Will Close?

Angels Trade for Ian Kinsler

Cardinals Finally Get Their Marlins Outfielder

Cubs and Twins Gamble on Smyly and Pineda

Chase Headley Gets Dumped on Padres

Cubs and Cardinals Add Potential Closers

Giancarlo Stanton Joins Yankees

Rockies Sign Chris Iannetta

Angels Land Shohei Ohtani

Tigers Sign Mike Fiers

Dee Gordon Traded to Mariners

Cubs Sign Tyler Chatwood

Rangers Sign Mike Minor

Wellington Castillo Inks Deal with White Sox

Potential Closers Traded: Boxberger and Johnson

Doug Fister Signs with Rangers

Ryon Healy Traded to Mariners

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