The Angels made a run at Toronto’s Michael Saunders in the recently-collapsed three-team Jay Bruce trade talks, and MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that they’ve also recently made a one-year offer to free-agent outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Gonzalez, the Halos offered Jackson a one-year deal worth $5-6MM, but Jackson’s camp has passed on the offer.
Per Gonzalez, Jackson’s agent, Scott Boras, sought more money in the deal, though I’d also note that Gonzalez said Jackson would’ve factored into a left field platoon. If that’s the case, Boras and Jackson may have been turned off by a possible lack of playing time; if Jackson is to settle for a one-year deal, he’d probably prefer one that comes with the promise of everyday at-bats in order to rebuild some stock in advance of next year’s open market.
Notably, even that modest commitment to Jackson would’ve put the Angels over the luxury tax threshold — a concept to which the Halos have previously been reported to be averse. The Angels currently sit about $2-3MM below the $189MM tax barrier, Gonzalez and others have noted, so any significant addition would put them over the top, barring subtraction from the payroll with a subsequent maneuver.
The Angels have taken a considerable amount of flak for their projected left field platoon of Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava; while each has strong career marks when holding the platoon advantage, each also suffered through a dismal 2015 campaign and will be looking for a rebound in Anaheim. Jackson has struggled somewhat, as well, since a trade to the Mariners and the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, though he’s still delivered solid marks in the eyes of defensive metrics. Jackson’s .261/.310/.364 slash over the past two seasons doesn’t stand out as impressive, though it’s about nine to 10 percent below the league average when adjusted for park (per OPS+ and wRC+). The extent to which Jackson would’ve been an upgrade over the incumbent platoon is largely a moot point, however, as Gonzalez writes that the team now appears likely to head into the season with Nava and Gentry in left.