CINCINNATI -- The Reds made their first acquisition of the offseason Thursday when they acquired outfielder Travis Jankowski from the Padres in a trade for international cap space.
A left-handed hitter with plus speed and the ability to play all three outfield positions, the 28-year-old Jankowski could potentially be a backup plan for center field in case Nick Senzel doesn’t come back from right shoulder surgery on schedule.
“That’s not why we did the deal, but it is a bonus,” Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. “He gives us a different profile player than we currently have. He is a guy that can play center field in the Major Leagues with no problem on Opening Day if Nick is not ready and is extra insurance.”
Over parts of five seasons with San Diego, Jankowski is a .241/.317/.318 hitter with eight homers, 42 RBIs and 62 steals in 334 big league games. After he played 117 games in 2018 with a team-high 24 stolen bases, Jankowski was limited to 25 games in '19 and was used largely in pinch-hitting situations, while batting .182/.250/.182.
Jankowski missed three months of the regular season with a fractured left wrist while diving for a ball in a Spring Training game, and he struggled to hit when he returned. He spent much of the season with Triple-A El Paso.
Not only do the Reds like Jankowski's speed, makeup and ability to bat leadoff, but he also offers roster flexibility since he has a Minor League option remaining.
“We think he can compete for a spot on the club,” Williams said.
With the World Series completed, after the Nationals defeated in the Astros in Game 7 on Wednesday night, 131 Major League players became free agents on Thursday. From the Reds, that group includes shortstop José Iglesias and starting pitcher Alex Wood.