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Indians sign Austin Jackson to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed outfielder Austin Jackson to a minor league contract, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, if Jackson makes the major league roster, he’ll earn a $1.5 million base salary with an additional $4 million available in incentives.

Jackson, who turns 30 years old on February 1, had a forgettable 2016 season. He hit .254/.318/.343 with 14 extra-base hits (zero home runs) and 18 RBI in 203 plate appearances with the White Sox before going down with a knee injury in June. Jackson underwent surgery to repair the medial meniscus in his right knee shortly thereafter and missed the rest of the season.

Jackson could be a right-handed-hitting complement to the left-handed-hitting Tyler Naquin in center field. In the event things don’t work out in Jackson’s favor, he has an opt-out clause at the end of spring training.

Braves promote Alex Anthopoulos, extend Brian Snitker

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The Atlanta Braves announced this morning that they have promoted general manager Alex Anthopoulos to President, Baseball Operations and General Manager and have extended his contract through 2024. They have likewise extended the contracts of manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff through the 2021 season.

Anthopoulos’ promotion will not likely change his duties very much, as it’s become increasingly common for top baseball operations executives to be given the title of “president” as opposed to “GM.” Part of this is some expansion of the role of said executives. Some of it is simple title inflation. Some of it is to prevent other teams from being able to interview and potentially poach top executives without permission under the guise of promotion.

Anthopoulos was hired following the 2017 season, replacing former GM John Coppolella, who resigned and was subsequently permanently banned from baseball following his involvement in a scandal in which he breached rules in connection with signings of international players and obstructed Major League Baseball’s investigation into it all. Before that Antopoulos served as the Blue Jays’ GM for seven years.

Snitker took over as interim manager when the Braves fired Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of the 2016 season. He and Coppolella did not get along and there were strong suggestions that he would never lose the interim tag, but he has been on far steadier ground since Anthopoulos took over. Winning helps, of course, and under the leadership of Anthopoulos and Snitker, the Braves have won the last two NL East titles, going 187-137 in the past two seasons.