Wednesday, March 9, 2011
30 A's in 30 Days: Conor Jackson
Acquired: Traded from Arizona (with C.R.E.A.M.) for RP Sam Demel (June 15, 2010).
Contract: Signed through 2011 (eligible for arbitration after 2011).
Position: Reserve outfielder; most inexplicable contract-tender of the arbitration era?
2011 Projected BA/OBP/SLG: .268/.362/.394
2010 Season: Jackson opened the season with the Arizona Diamondbacks after missing most of 2009 with a case of valley fever that eventually turned into severe pneumonia. After posting a .292/.371/.451 slash line from 2006-2008, Jackson struggled to regain the strength and rhythm he lost while ill. He was hitting just .238/.326/.331 in 42 games when the A's acquired him. At the time, Oakland's outfield was one of the least productive in the American League -- a title we'd win outright at season's end! -- and Jackson was handed an everyday job. He played about two weeks with the A's before injuring his hamstring. Jackson missed a month and a half, returned for four games in mid-August and then missed the rest of the season with a sports hernia. And, the A's brought him back?
2011 Over/Under: Jackson and 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff were both arbitration eligible entering this past offseason and both were offered contracts for 2011. After the A's failed to find a replacement for Kouzmanoff, it was at least somewhat defensible to bring him back. He's got a good glove and it's hard to quantify how much Kouz's back injury impacted his numbers. Jackson, on the other hand, is being paid more than $3 million to be a fourth outfielder...who's projected to hit like our other, much cheaper fourth outfielder, Ryan Sweeney. Take the UNDER, based on my insensitive "when players are contracting illnesses I've never heard of..." theory.
By the Numbers: 20 – The number of pounds put on by Jackson this offseason. This bit of Toledo scale trivia is at the core of a unique "best shape of my life, without SAYING 'best shape of my life'" spring training story. I don't know, you guys. Those soft-focus profile pieces that air during the Olympics or on the individual Super Bowl participants get all the criticism, but 4-6 weeks of spring training stories has them both beat.
Surefire 2011 Prediction: There is no way -- none -- that the A's keep a $3 million back-up outfielder on the roster all season. He'll either get 400+ plate appearances if one (or more) of Oakland's OF goes down or he'll be dealt the moment he goes more than 15 days without an ailment.
Old School Rap Track for the Season: Bring the Yellow Tape, E-40