A few weeks ago, Travis Jankowski showed his humility and honesty when he said nobody would buy his jersey. In part truth because the New York Mets were probably not even selling jerseys of his at the time, Jankowski shirseys are now a thing.
Prior to Friday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, Jankowski shirseys were on every chair in the Mets clubhouse.
A minor addition this offseason, Jankowski is now not only a fan favorite in the same way we appreciated the bench mob in 2021 but also apparently someone his fellow teammates appreciate.
Travis Jankowski is settling into his role as the last man on the Mets bench
Since starting both legs of the doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves on May 3, Jankowski has not taken another trip to the plate. He has played numerous times, finishing five times in left field either after coming in as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner.
This is precisely the role the Mets intended for him. Although his batting average is still over .300, they are well aware that the more trips to the plate he has, the more likely it is to fall.
Nevertheless, the Mets saw clearly how much more valuable it is to have such a minor role player on the team than a guy like Robinson Cano—now a member of the San Diego Padres. The Mets bench aside from Jankowski has consisted of the defensively limited J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith (who have each struggled at the plate) plus Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Tomas Nido. The Mets had been using Jeff McNeil as their fourth outfielder and still seem to prefer this over some of the other options they could go with.
On a healthy Mets squad, Jankowski is a nice piece to have. He’s the kind of guy fast enough to score from first base on a long double or steal a hit in the final innings with a great defensive play. Mets fans may not be rushing out to buy his jersey anytime soon. At least until the washing machine or dryer claims it, every member of the clubhouse can at least brag about the Jankowski shirsey.