Earlier today we heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates had been evaluating Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Willingham. Jerry Crasnick reports tonight that the Pirates have also checked on Oakland first baseman Conor Jackson, as well as Willingham. Jackson is currently hitting for a .243/.316/.313 line in 230 at-bats. In his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks he hit for a .277/.358/.423 line, although most of that production came in 2006-2008.
Jackson plays first base, but also has played the outfield in his major league career. He’s very strong defensively at first base, and decent in right field. As for power, in his best years he was good for 12-15 homers a year, so he’s not much of a power threat. He does have some platoon splits, with an .841 OPS against left handers, and a .728 OPS against right handers in his career. This year he has a .743 OPS against left handers, and a .561 OPS against right handers.
Jackson is making $3.2 M this year, in his final year before free agency. He’d make about $1.05 M of that over the final two months of the season. He’s about a 1.0 WAR player, giving him a value of $0.7 M the rest of the year. That’s the value of a Grade C hitting prospect, which isn’t much. Like Willingham, Jackson would only make sense as a bench option. However, he might not even make sense in that role, as the Pirates have Steve Pearce rehabbing in AAA, due back possibly by the end of the week, and currently tearing up AAA pitching.