Austin Jackson has been through it all as a Detroit Tigers center fielder. Unbelievable catches, incredibly hot-hitting months that have put him among some of the best in the game, and even an All-Star appearance. All of that has come crashing down in the past 1.5 years, reaching a boiling point last postseason where Jackson struck out more times than me at a bar. To say Austin Jackson was bad in the postseason last year would be like saying Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaky 2” was only somewhat bad (it was much worse than that).
Still as rumors swirled this offseason and trade after trade popped up with Jackson’s name on it, the days dragged past and eventually the Tigers agreed to a one-year extension, setting up for a final ultimatum between the two sides. It’s now or never if Jackson if going to be the future or if the Tigers are going to have to go elsewhere to address their needs in the center field. Already questions have flooded to Brad Ausmus as to whether he is going to keep Jackson at the top of the order. This is important because if he doesn’t hit lead-off, he will be sliding into the darkest hole known to man which is the ninth hitting spot. No player needs a better Spring Training right now than Austin Jackson.
So as we approach this 2014 season, keep an eye on how Jackson is doing because his order in the lineup and his spot on the team is depending on it. No one wants Austin Jackson to succeed more than the Tigers who have an outfield with more patches than a pirate with chickenpox. The Tigers don’t need to apply another patch in 2015.