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Mets bringing in Joe Panik

Joe Panik, Mets

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, free-agent second baseman Joe Panik and the New York Mets have agreed upon a deal after he cleared waivers Friday afternoon. Being from New York, the former San Francisco Giant has found a place on a team that has been looking for second base coverage after Robinson Cano went down with a torn hamstring.

Earlier this week, Panik was designated for assignment by the Giants, a move that came across as a bit surprising, but one that would most likely not have happened if there were two trade deadlines like there typically had been. With the new rule being implemented for the 2019 MLB season that resulted in having only the one trade deadline, waiver trade deals could no longer happen, thus making the DFA of Panik the only other option for San Francisco to get rid of him.

Having played in the Bay for his entire career up till this point, Panik’s almost six years at the big-league level with the Giants, combined with a little over three seasons in the minor leagues, can easily be deemed as a success.

Never seen as a big-time power hitter, Panik’s offensive numbers were some of the worst career, resulting in his career-worst tally of WAR at -0.39. Hitting .235 with three long balls and 27 runs driven in just does not get it done for a starter at the big-league level, so even with the Giants pretty much out of the playoff conversation, they decided to move on from their longtime starter to get more playing time for their younger players as well as recently-acquired Scooter Gennett.

Gennett, who came over in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds on the day of the trade deadline, immediately slots into the starting second base role and has been steadily getting himself back into playing shape after having dealt with various injuries during the 2019 campaign.

For Panik, his role in Flushing seems pretty defined now, as he becomes the full-time replacement for Cano while he rehabs his hamstring, which currently has no defined timeframe attached to it. As the Mets somehow have climbed their way back into the playoff conversation, they need all the contributions that they can get, and Panik is a buy-low option that acts as a late-season trade acquisition, hopefully being able to produce more than he did with the Giants this year.