The Cubs strengthened their roster for the playoff push on Monday, acquiring outfielder Austin Jackson and a cash consideration from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later and an international signing bonus slot.
On the eve of September and expanded rosters, the Cubs gave manager Joe Maddon another mix-and-match option for a young lineup that hasn’t experienced the 162-game grind before.
The Cubs have also been missing Jorge Soler, who’s sidelined with a strained oblique muscle. Those injuries are usually tricky and the rookie outfielder already has a long medical history.
Jackson had been hitting .272 with eight homers, 18 doubles, 38 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 46 runs scored and a .699 OPS in 107 games for Seattle. He bats right-handed and plays center field. He is 28 and in position to become a free agent after this season.
“I’ve seen him for a long time in the American League,” Maddon said. “When he starts swinging the bat well, he’s very productive. A fine outfielder, good baserunner, kind of a complete player. So to be able to pick him up right now, I think we’re very fortunate.”
To make room for Jackson on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated infielder Mike Olt for assignment. Olt had been the Opening Day third baseman until getting hit by a pitch on April 11 and fracturing his wrist — and soon enough the Cubs would set Kris Bryant’s free-agency clock and summon their franchise player from Triple-A Iowa.
Jackson also has significant postseason experience on his resume after being a part of 35 playoff games with the Detroit Tigers between 2011 and 2013.
“It’s the depth component,” Maddon said. “You never know what’s going to happen during the course of the next month. If somebody were to get hurt again, all of a sudden you’re really backs against the wall.”