The Mets have designated outfielder Travis Jankowski for assignment, tweets Tim Britton of the Athletic. The move clears an active roster spot for the recently-acquired Tyler Naquin. New York also recalled Sam Clay and Stephen Nogosek, optioned David Peterson to Triple-A Syracuse and confirmed the previously-reported placement of Drew Smith on the 15-day injured list.
Adding Naquin supplanted Jankowski as the left-handed hitting fourth outfielder. New York’s starting outfield of Mark Canha, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte will continue to assume the bulk of the playing time, but Naquin adds more power to the bench. Jankowski is a lighter-hitting speed and defense specialist, but each of Naquin and Marte is capable of handling center field at times when Nimmo needs a rest.
The Mets signed Jankowski to a minor league contract in Spring Training, and he cracked the Opening Day roster. He lost a good chunk of the year after fracturing a metacarpal in his left hand, and he’s not seen a whole lot of action in Queens. While Jankowski has made his way into 43 games, he’s tallied only 63 plate appearances as a primary pinch-runner or defensive replacement. He’s drawn eight walks against only nine strikeouts, but he’s collected just nine hits (all singles).
Jankowski has never been a power threat, tallying nine homers in a little more than 1200 career plate appearances. His combination of plate discipline, baserunning and ability to cover all three outfield positions has allowed him to spend parts of eight years in the big leagues — primarily in a fourth/fifth outfield capacity. He owns a .236/.320/.311 line as a big leaguer.
New York already created a 40-man roster spot for Naquin last night, but designating Jankowski for assignment was the only way to take him off the active roster. He has more than five years of major league service, giving him the right to refuse an option to the minor leagues. He’ll be traded or waived in the coming days, and he’d be able to elect free agency if he passes through waivers unclaimed.