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Tribe signs Austin Jackson to minor league deal

In light of Rajai Davis' departure, the Cleveland Indians have added OF Austin Jackson as an outfield insurance piece and potential CF platoon candidate. The IBI's John Alfes details the club's latest minor league signing...

A former member of two divisional foes has officially booked his flight for Cleveland.

Previously playing for the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox, Austin Jackson will continue his MLB quest aboard the American League Central Division ship.

The Cleveland Indians signed the 29-year-old outfielder to a minor league deal on Wednesday afternoon that if he makes the active roster will be worth $1.5 million with $4 million in potential incentives, according to ESPN's Buster Olney and MLB Network's Jon Heyman.

The center fielder figures to have an opportunity at the big league level if he can fend off a left knee surgery in June that sidelined him for the majority of the 2016 campaign. Aside from his medial meniscus tear, Jackson finished the year with a .254/.318/.343 slash line in 54 games with the White Sox. Now in the prime of his career, the injury-riddled Jackson could make an immediate impact once more with valuable experience at all three outfield positions.

Jackson was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 8th round of the 2005 draft before logging MLB service time with the Tigers, Mariners, Cubs and White Sox from 2010-16. The journeyman outfielder has two Defensive Player of the Year awards and 108 career stolen bases at the top of his resume. Most notably, Jackson has notched as many as 16 home runs (2012) and 27 stolen bases (2010) in a single season.

Tribe fans remember Jackson from his days patrolling center field in Detroit when he gunned down Kosuke Fukudome at the plate in a game-saving ninth inning spectacle on Aug. 21, 2011.

If the healthy Jackson can showcase his defensive flair and impressive combination of power and speed this spring, then he could very well rack up his contract's incentives and a platoon spot alongside Tyler Naquin in center field for 2017.

The agreement between the two parties also entails an opt-out clause taking place at the end of spring training.

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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