New York Mets: With Cano done, Amazins could Panik

Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants. Jeff McNeil, New York Mets. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants. Jeff McNeil, New York Mets. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Tuesday, San Francisco designated second baseman Joe Panik for assignment. He could be an ideal pick up for the New York Mets in light of Robinson Cano’s possible season-ending injury.

The 2019 trade deadline has passed. That doesn’t mean the New York Mets can’t get players. There are several ways to do it. Trades can still be made for players in the minor leagues who are not on their parent team’s 40-man roster. Additionally, as teams fall out of the race, they may choose to waive, release, or designate players for assignment, as a way to cut costs.

At the July 31 trade deadline, San Francisco acquired second baseman Scooter Gennett from Cincinnati. A week later the Giants designated the former Gold Glove second baseman Joe Panik for assignment. He’ll likely be waived soon. A team that claims him on waivers is on the hook for the remainder of his 2019 contract, which is about $1.12M.

If Panik doesn’t get claimed, within seven days, he becomes a free agent. At that point. any team that signs him only has to pay Panik the pro-rated minimum salary and SFG has to foot the rest. It’s a situation similar to what the New York Mets had in 2018 with Jose Bautista.

Panik is a good fit for the Mets now that incumbent second baseman Robinson Cano appears to be finished for the year due to a hamstring tear. On a team with the worst infield defense in baseball, a former Gold Glove winner (2015) would be welcomed. His offense isn’t as bad as one would think from a player just given his walking papers.

After a slow start to the season, Panik has hit .247 since May 7. What is bad is his .321 slugging percentage, but his defense could make up for it. Just for reference, Cano has hit .260 in the same time frame. If Panik came to Queens, he’d be an offensive upgrade. Either center fielder Juan Lagares (.180 batting average) or utility infielder Adeiny Hechavarria (.216) would be pushed out of the starting lineup.

If it comes to it, the Mets have an advantage over some other teams who might be interested in Panik. He’s a local product and the second baseman also went to nearby St. John’s University.

Next. All hail Mets hitting machine Jeff McNeil. dark

For New York Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen bringing Panik into the fold would is almost a no-brainer. The question is whether he makes a waiver claim or waits until the second baseman is a free agent.