Jackson clears waivers, opts for free agency

Jackson clears waivers, opts for free agency

ANAHEIM -- Infielder Ryan Jackson cleared outright waivers, but he elected for free agency on Monday, further cutting into the Angels' sparse middle-infield depth.

With Jackson gone, the only other backup to shortstop Erick Aybar in the organization is utility infielder Taylor Featherston, a former Rule 5 Draft pick who will enter the 2016 season with three option years remaining.

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Jackson was selected by the Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2009 MLB Draft, then spent the '14 season with the Padres. He came to the Angels in a May 2015 trade with the Royals for catcher Drew Butera. The 27-year-old Jackson has appeared in 42 Major League games since 2012 and went 0-for-9 with the Angels last season.

With outfielder Daniel Robertson getting claimed off waivers by the Mariners on Friday, the Angels' 40-man roster sits at 33 players.

Robertson and Jackson both entered the 2016 season with options remaining, but the club seeks upgrades for both this offseason. With that being the case, the Angels probably just wanted to find out early on if they could slip both players through outright waivers and keep them in the organization without having them occupy a 40-man spot.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.