SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco Giants designated veteran second baseman Joe Panik for assignment, ending his six-year run with the team that included the 2014 World Series crown, an appearance in the 2015 All-Star Game and a Gold Glove Award in 2016.
In recent years, Panik has struggled at the plate after suffering concussions and other injuries. During the Giants July rally back into Wild Card contention, Panik was mostly a no-show picking up just three extra base hits (three doubles) and a .587 OPS.
For the season, he was hitting a career-low .235 with a .627 OPS in 103 games, putting his future in jeopardy with the recent trades that brought Scooter Gennett from the Reds and promising prospect Mauricio Dubon from the Brewers.
Panik will be placed on waivers making him available to any other Major League club. A likely landing spot could be the New York Mets. Panik grew up in Yonkers, New York, and the Mets recently lost second baseman Robinson Cano to injury.
The veteran Giant said he learned of the club’s decision Monday night in a meeting with manager Bruce Bochy and GM Farhan Zaidi.
The 28-year-old fan favorite issued a statement, thanking the organization and the Giants faithful.
“I would like to thank Boch, along with all coaches I have had throughout my time here,” Panik wrote. “Thank you to all my teammates. We have experienced some truly amazing moments together that I will never forget. To the fans, it was an amazing six seasons. Thank you for all the passion and support you have given us players.”
“Nothing has driven me more than winning here in San Francisco. I am forever grateful for the Giants taking a chance on me to live out my life long dream. It is time for me to start my next chapter in my career. But in my heart, I will always be a Giant.”
San Francisco selected Panik 29th overall in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of St. John’s University. Three years later, he helped the Giants win a World Series title.
Panik hit a game-tying solo home run in Game 5 of the 2014 NLCS, a game the Giants won to clinch the pennant on their way to a third World Series championship in five seasons.
But the clutch play by Panik that many Giants fans most remember is from Game 7 of 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals – a diving stop of a Eric Hosmer grounder up the middle that appeared to be a sure hit, and a flip from his glove to shortstop Brandon Crawford to force Lorenzo Cain at second; followed by Crawford’s throw to first to complete the double play.
With Panik’s departure, there are only five members of the Giants roster besides manager Bruce Bochy who were with the team during their last World Series title: Crawford, Brandon Belt, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval.