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White Sox sign outfielder Austin Jackson to a one-year, $5 million deal

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Update (8:53 PM EST): The deal is now official, as Jackson has passed his physical, CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes reports. Mike Olt has been designated for assignment to make room for Jackson on the 40-man roster.

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At long last, Austin Jackson has a home. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the White Sox have agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with the outfielder. Heyman adds that Jackson could have signed for more money elsewhere, but he valued the opportunity to continue playing center field rather than switching to left field.

Jackson, 29, spent last season with the Mariners and the Cubs, hitting an aggregate .267/.311/.385 with nine home runs, 48 RBI, 56 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 527 plate appearances. The Mariners traded him to the Cubs at the end of August ahead of the waiver trade deadline.

Jackson joins an outfield that includes Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia, and Melky Cabrera.

The Angels, Indians, and Brewers were previously rumored to have had interest in Jackson.

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Madison Bumgarner apparently hunts bears, too

Madison Bumgarner
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We welcomed “Mason Saunders” into our lives on Sunday, thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan. Mason Saunders is the alias of Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner when he competes in rodeos, something he’s done as recently as December (when he was still a free agent).

Given that one of Bumgarner’s other extracurricular activities, riding dirt bikes, resulted in a serious injury, many have been wondering how the Diamondbacks would react to the news that the lefty they inked to a five-year contract two months ago is roping steers in his spare time. It seems like the Diamondbacks just accept that that’s who Bumgarner is.

On Tuesday, Baggarly and Buchanan answered some frequently asked questions about the whole Bumgarner-rodeo thing. They mentioned that former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in a radio interview on KNBR, slipped in that Bumgarner also hunts bears in his off-time. Bochy said, “You think, ‘Madison, you’re looking at signing your biggest contract ever to set yourself up for life and you’re going to risk it on the rodeo?’ But he’s got confidence. I mean there’s some stories I do know that he probably wouldn’t want me to share, with him bear hunting, and the tight situations he’s gotten himself into.”

As Baggarly and Buchanan explained, when Bumgarner — I mean, Saunders — is roping steers, he’s not taking much of a risk. They wrote, “The header and heeler don’t chase the steer around the ring. Each trial is more or less a one-shot deal and it’s over in less than 10 seconds. If the header or heeler misses on the first attempt, then no time is recorded.” Bumgarner has also said he ropes with his non-pitching hand. Hunting bears is an entirely different level of risk, one would imagine. That being said, no one seemed to be surprised that Bumgarner moonlights as a serious rodeo competitor. That’s likely also the case that he, as Bochy puts it, goes “mano a mano” against bears.