Reds: Travis Jankowski is not the answer if Nick Senzel misses time

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 24: Travis Jankowski #31 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 24: Travis Jankowski #31 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

After Nick Senzel exited the Reds game last night, he was replaced by Travis Jankowski.

Nick Senzel came out of the game with a groin injury in the fourth innings of the Cincinnati Reds 8-3 victory on Friday night. David Bell decided to put Travis Jankowski in his place patrolling center field for the remainder of the game. If Senzel is out for an extended period, Jankowski can not be a regular in the Reds lineup.

To be clear, I’m of the mindset that Bell was wanting to give Shogo Akiyama the night off. We already saw the Reds skipper shuffle his lineup, adding the likes of Matt Davidson in place of Joey Votto and Kyle Farmer in place of Freddy Galvis. With a 6-0 lead, Jankowski wasn’t going to be overly detrimental to the Cincinnati lineup.

However, that cannot be Bell’s mindset going forward. If Senzel is out today, tomorrow or ends up on the injured list, Akiyama and Phillip Ervin need to be the Reds primary rotation in center field. In fact, if Senzel goes on the IL, the Reds should recall Mark Payton who was just re-acquired from the Oakland A’s and added to the 60-man player pool.

Travis Jankowski offers little more than speed and defense.

Travis Jankowski is a two-tool player. He has phenomenal speed and plays solid defense in the outfield. But Reds Country has seen that song and dance before when Billy Hamilton was roaming center field at Great American Ball Park. In today’s game, if you can’t hit, you better be a catcher, and even they don’t get the benefit of the doubt anymore.

This Cincinnati Reds team has shown an inability to score runs early in the season, but finally broke through in last night’s game versus the Milwaukee Brewers. Jankowski, however, was not part of the offensive onslaught, going 0-for-2.

Jankowski is, at best, a rotational outfielder. However, for this offensively inept squad, why not call upon Aristides Aquino or even Stuart Fairchild? Both players are currently at the alternate site at Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio.

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Hopefully Senzel’s injury is only minor and he’ll back on the field after Saturday’s evaluation. However, if it requires the second-year centerfield to take a trip to the injured list, hopefully we see a combination of Shogo Akiyama, Phillip Ervin and even Mark Payton in the middle of the Reds outfield.