Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Report: Free agent reliever Jay Jackson receiving widespread interest
By Thomas Hall2 months ago
Old friend Jay Jackson is reportedly garnering plenty of interest across Major League Baseball this off-season.
The 36-year-old free-agent reliever has caught the attention of nine big-league clubs, per Metsmerized reporter Mike Mayer. The veteran righty spent this past season with the Toronto Blue Jays, pitching to a 2.12 ERA with 27 strikeouts across 29.2 innings in 25 relief appearances.
Jackson joined the Blue Jays organization on a minor-league contract last winter, which included an invitation to spring training. He ultimately exercised his opt-out clause before rejoining the franchise soon after on a major-league deal.
The 6-foot-1 hurler split time between the majors and triple-A Buffalo, as he was shuttled back and forth on six separate occasions before he was designated for assignment last October.
Despite an unfortunate ending, Jackson quickly became a fan favourite amongst the fan base, particularly for his heroic on-field performances, pitching multiple innings out of the bullpen in seven of his 25 outings – saving a taxed ‘pen in most of those games. In doing so, he earned the trust of skipper John Schneider, elevating him into a more prominent role.
By far, Jackson’s standout weapon was his slider, which he utilized 60.0 per cent of the time, holding opponents to a .118 batting average while producing a 35.4 per cent whiff rate. It was responsible for 17 of his 27 punchouts and registered a career-high +8 run value.
Nothing, however, could compare to the outpour of support he and his family received when news surfaced regarding his son, JR, who was born 15 weeks premature on July 6. He was placed on MLB’s paternity list one day later and spent the rest of the season travelling to visit his newborn son at a hospital in Utah during the team’s off days.
Jackson penned a letter on X, formerly Twitter, shortly after the campaign concluded, thanking the Blue Jays and their fans for the love and compassion they displayed throughout the year.
While Toronto’s front office likely remains open to a reunion with Jackson, they wouldn’t be able to guarantee him a big-league opportunity next season, unlike how a few others probably can.
The Greenville, South Carolina, native has made 84 appearances (one start) over five big-league seasons in his career, split between the Padres, Brewers, Giants, Braves and Blue Jays, posting a 3.50 ERA with 107 strikeouts in 87.1 innings.
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