Given how badly the Diamondbacks have played this season, it’s not surprising to see them begin to make some moves. The first player to go: the disappointing Conor Jackson.
Jackson, who was making $3.1 million this season, has been a huge disappointment for the Diamondbacks this season. After missing a majority of last season because of Valley Fever, Jackson’s bat simply has not been productive. Jackson has only hit one homerun this season and his lack of power is simply unacceptable for a left fielder. Jackson’s performance must have been extremely disappointing for the Diamondbacks, who originally drafted Jackson in the first round back in 2003. Given Jackson’s salary this season, there was almost no chance that the Diamondbacks would have tendered Jackson a contract next winter so it makes sense that they cut their losses on Jackson when they could.
In addition, the Diamondbacks were in desperate need for relief pitching. The Diamondbacks team bullpen ERA this season is a staggering 7.33. While no one is suggesting that Sam Demel, the relief pitcher acquired for Jackson, will turn around the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, Demel does give A.J Hinch another option out of the pen. And so far this season, Demel has been lights out in AAA (2-0, 1.26 ERA, six saves) so the opportunity should be there for him make an impact with the Diamondbacks.
With that said, there is no doubt that Jackson’s value is at a low point right now. The Athletics ultimately decided to take a chance on Jackson hoping that he might rediscover his power stroke and give the Athletics a much needed bat in the middle of their lineup. What remains to be seen is how much playing time the A’s will be able to give Jackson. With Daric Barton producing as the starting first baseman and the Atheltics outfield already congested with bodies (Sweeney, Gross, Davis, and soon to be off the DL Coco Crisp) so there will be pressure on Jackson to produce at the plate right off the bat. Keep in mind that the Athletics are only four games out of first place so this move could be viewed as Billy Beane’s attempt to acquire an impact bat at a low cost. This move is a gamble for Beane, but even if Jackson does not pan out, the Athletics have the ability to cut their losses at the end of the season by not tendering a contract to Jackson.