Now that the 2019 season is over for the New York Mets, we have been looking back at the year that was. After taking a more general view of the offense, pitching, and coaching staff, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the Mets’ players. This series will take a look at every player on the roster for the Mets at the end of season from A (Pete Alonso) to Z (Daniel Zamora). The review will look at their season statistics, stories, and what role (if any) they will have next season. We continue the series today with a look at second baseman Joe Panik.
Player Review: Joe Panik
Major Leagues (San Francisco Giants): 103 Games, 344 At Bats, .235 Batting Average, 81 Hits, 17 Doubles, 1 Triple, 3 Home Runs, 27 RBI’s, 33 Runs Scored, 4 Stolen Bases, .627 OPS
Major Leagues (New York Mets): 39 Games, 94 At Bats, .277 Batting Average, 26 Hits, 4 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 Home Runs, 12 RBI’s, 17 Runs Scored, .737 OPS
Story: Joe Panik began 2019 with the only organization he’d ever known, the San Francisco Giants. After opening the season as the Giants’ starting second baseman, he fell into a slump and San Francisco opted to move on from the 2014 World Series champion, waiving Panik in August. That happened to coincide with the Mets having a need at second base after Robinson Cano went on the injured list, leading the team to sign the New York native for the rest of the season. Panik seemed reinvigorated by a return to the East Coast, getting off to a hot start and playing steady defense at second base. The surprise return of Cano from injury in early September resulted in Panik’s playing time completely drying up, collecting only 29 at bats over the season’s final month.
Panik did his job as a fill-in for Cano, providing steady defense and contact hitting atop the Mets’ batting order.
Contract Status: Free Agent
Odds of Returning: 0%
2020 Role: None
The Mets tried optioning Panik to AAA after the season, and he predictably refused the assignment to re-enter free agency. Panik displayed enough value down the stretch to land somewhere else as a starter, a role the Mets don’t need with Cano locked in at second for another four seasons. That would shift Panik to a bench role, and a guy who can only play one position and earn a few million bucks isn’t a good fit for the Mets. This was a marriage of convenience, and each side got what they needed out of it before moving on.
Check back tomorrow as our Player Review Series continues with a look at relief pitcher Tim Peterson!