The Chicago Cubs have prospect Brett Jackson tabbed as their center fielder of the future, but perhaps his time could come sooner than originally thought. Jackson has played well during spring training, and now incumbent CF Marlon Byrd -- who is in the final year of his contract and owed $6.5 million in 2012 -- is drawing interest from the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Manager Dale Sveum told Wittenmyer that "Brett Jackson is ready to play here for sure," and added that he would be surprised if Jackson didn't join the Cubs before September call ups.
Despite the rumors surrounding Byrd, it might not make sense to blaze a direct path for Jackson right now. Back in February, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Bryd and Soriano will be with the team on opening day, which fits with the observation from Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors, who noted that if Jackson is called up sooner than mid-to-late June, he would be eligible for Super Two arbitration, meaning his cost to the Cubs would rise considerably over the long-term.
For more on the offseason, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more from around baseball, head over to Baseball Nation. To keep track of all rumors and happenings in the game, check out MLB Daily Dish.