Maybe Brett Jackson had to hit what manager Dale Sveum called "rock bottom."

That's an overstatement, because it's not like the Cubs were surprised when Jackson was so over-matched last year (59 strikeouts in 120 at-bats). They promoted him from Triple-A Iowa in August so that he could see what it takes at this level and forget whatever stubborn ideas he had in his head.

The Cubs are not going to write off a 24-year-old plus defender who has shown a unique combination of power, speed and the willingness to literally run into walls. But they are insistent that Jackson will start this season in Iowa as they continue to weigh their options in the outfield.

Sources said there's mutual interest between the Cubs and Scott Hairston – who hit 20 homers in 377 at-bats with the New York Mets last season – and a strong opposition to signing free agent Michael Bourn because it would mean losing a second-round draft pick and sacrificing part of their signing-bonus pool.

The Mets have reportedly rejected Hairston's demands – two years, $8 million – and there could be reasons to sign here. Hairston spent part of his childhood in the Chicago suburbs. His grandfather Sam and father Jerry Sr. played for the White Sox. His older brother Jerry Jr. graduated from Naperville North High School and played for the Cubs.

Hairston is said to be a good clubhouse guy. He was part of the San Diego Padres team that won 91 games in 2010, Jed Hoyer's first year as general manager. Between Hairston, David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz and Dave Sappelt – and Alfonso Soriano's need for days off at the age of 37 – the Cubs could take a mix-and-match approach in the outfield.