The thought has been that Jackson could be ready to race for an Opening Day roster spot, but that looks cloudier each week he continues to lag behind the other outfielders in camp. Manager Terry Francona said the veteran still has a ways to go before he'll be ready to compete with the group. "The biggest thing is he has to be able to make his cuts -- reacting," Francona said. "He's a good center fielder. That's part of his skill set. So, asking him to do it before he's ready isn't fair to anybody." Even if healthy and on the 25-man roster, Jackson is best-suited for deeper leagues at best.
Allen stole 45 bases, scored 119 runs and posted an .830 OPS between High-A Lynchburg and Double-A Akron last season. While considered an important part of Cleveland's future, the 23-year-old still has a few steps to climb before he makes a splash in the fantasy world. Allen should garner attention in dynasty formats, and is worth watching as a possible late-season add in standard leagues.
The good news is that Brantley is increasing his activity level, but the bad news is that his status remains "week to week." Before working in the outfield on Tuesday, he stepped into the batter's box Monday, although he never took a swing as he just worked on tracking pitches. Seeing Brantley up his participation is encouraging, but the outfielder remains a high-risk pick until a timetable for his return is established.
Michael Bourn's signing, coupled with that of Craig Gentry's on Saturday, gives the Orioles a tremendously crowded outfield. They have nine outfielders on the 40-man roster -- including two Rule 5 picks -- and five more that have received non-roster invites to spring. Right now, there's room for one more (maybe two) outfielders on the 25-man roster. Bourn could start the season in the minors since he is on a minor-league deal. But once his contract is purchased by the big-league club, he can't come off the roster without going through waivers (or being released outright). The club would love to keep at least one of their Rule 5 outfielders - Aneury Tavarez or Anthony Santander - but that means a clogged roster spot all season. Therefore, because Rickard has minor-league options remaining and is coming back from injury, he fate is all but officially sealed.
Santana suffered a season-ending Grade 2 shoulder strain in September, but should be fine as spring training begins. He'll try to win a utility role this spring, but the signing of Ehire Adrianza likely means he's not currently a favorite to win a roster spot.
The electric outfielder had his fair share of struggles over the past couple seasons, but once he slotted into the pole position of Texas' lineup, Gomez batted .328 with a .391 OBP. He'll presumably have more opportunities to score runs and swipe bases with this positioning, a role that would help Gomez's value as long as he can continue to hit like he did following his trade to the Rangers.
The veteran on-base machine had a tumultuous injury-filled season in 2016, but the Rangers are still insistent on plopping him right in front of Texas' run producers. This would likely line up Choo to score more runs than the number he produces, which could work in his favor given his strong walk rate. However, he needs to prove he can stay healthy all season, something he failed to do last year.
The 35-year-old journeyman spent time playing in Japan from 2010 through 2015, but as a member of the Cubs organization last season, he pieced together a .314/.349/.398 slash line in 76 games with their Triple-A affiliate. The Tigers outfield is pretty crowded as things stand now, so Murton will likely have to settle for an organizational depth role unless injuries plague Detroit's outfielders.
Swihart raised some eyebrows Saturday when his throws back to the pitcher were way off the mark, but his throws Sunday were much harder and he didn't misfire at all. The initial concern was the he could be developing some sort of mental block -- particularly coming off last season when his development time took a hit when the Red Sox moved him to left field before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury. "It's really not going to be big deal," Swihart said. "The only tough part was getting back there for the first time in a long while with live pitching." Swihart is expected to open the season at Triple-A Pawtucket to get back to an everyday routine behind the plate.
Tilson's foot injury will keep him out of action for at least 10 days, putting the 29-year-old Bourjos in position to earn a roster spot. The White Sox prefer Tilson be the starter, but he's battled injuries ever since getting a shot in Chicago's outfield last season.