The New York Mets are signing second baseman Joe Panik to a one-year, major league deal, a league source has confirmed. Mike Anthony of MetsMerizedOnline.com was first to report the two sides were expected to reach a deal, with Panik wanting to “come home.”
Panik, 28, was designated for assignment recently by the San Francisco Giants in a somewhat surprising move. Panik is in the final stages of clearing release waivers; he will go unclaimed at 1:00 p.m. EST today and officially become a free agent. The Mets will announce their deal with Panik not long after.
A 2011 first-round pick, Panik made his debut in 2014, finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting. Panik was an NL All-Star in 2015 and won the Gold Glove award in 2016. Panik holds a solid .271/.334/.383 slash line with 221 RBI on 631 hits, including 36 homers.
This season with the Giants, Panik appeared in 103 games but struggled to the tune of a .235/.310/.317, holding career lows in both batting average and slugging percentage. His .627 OPS is also the worst of his big-league tenure. He has knocked in 27 runs on 81 hits, including three homers, a triple, and 17 doubles, while walking 36 times and striking out 38.
Panik was due to earn $3.85 million this season, and he will be paid that full amount by the Giants once he clears waivers. His deal with the Mets will be pro-rated, likely at the value of the league minimum or slightly above it. It’s worth noting that Panik wants to play in his home state of New York, so he may take a discount to play close to home.
The Mets’ current infield consists of Adeiny Hechavarria at second base with Jeff McNeil backing him. Bench middle infielder Luis Guillorme is the third available second baseman. Hechavarria has struggled greatly this season, playing worse than Panik, so the former Giants second baseman will likely take over as the starter in New York. McNeil is absolutely raking this year, but he’s already the starting right fielder. Guillorme is also struggling.
Panik to the Mets has seemed like a perfect fit ever since San Francisco cut ties with the Yonkers native, so it’s satisfying to see Panik find his way back to New York on a big-league deal with the playoff-hopeful Mets.