Mets Sign Ex-Giants 2B Joe Panik

Hechavarria Designated For Assignment

Ryan Chatelain
August 09, 2019 - 2:53 pm

Joe Panik is officially a New York Met.

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The team announced Friday it has signed the former San Francisco Giants second baseman. Panik was designated for assignment Tuesday by the Giants and became a free agent at 1 p.m. Friday after clearing waivers.

The Mets suddenly had a need at second base after placing Robinson Cano on the injured list this week with a torn left hamstring. He is out indefinitely.

New York cleared room on its roster by designating infielder Adeiny Hechavarria for assignment. A strong defensive player, Hechavarria was hitting just .204 this season, had a .252 on-base percentage and had just two hits in his last 35 at-bats (.057).

Joe Panik
John Hefti/USA TODAY Images

By parting ways with Hechavarria now, the Mets will avoid paying him a $1 million roster bonus that was due Aug. 24.

Hechavarria, Jeff McNeil, Luis Guillorme had platooned for the Mets at second base this week.

According to WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman, at least two other teams had expressed interest in Panik, but the Mets had a few noticeable advantages. They have available playing time at second base and are a hot team in the playoff hunt. Also, Panik is a local product -- born in Yonkers, grew up in Hopewell Junction and played at St. John's.  

Panik, 28, was a key contributor on the Giants' 2014 World Series-winning team and was an All-Star in 2015, when he hit .312. He, however, has struggled this season, batting just .235 with three home runs. He became expendable when the Giants acquired Scooter Gennett from the Cincinnati Reds before last week's trade deadline.

The newest Met spoke before the Mets game with the Nationals about how excited he is to be joining the team.

"You never know in these types of situations what's going to happen," said Panik. "It couldn't work out any better for myself, personally. A lot of family, a lot of friends in the area. For me to coming to a club that's hot right now, in the playoff push, is very exciting. For me, it's a fresh start ... I'm just looking to help the team any way I can. Any time you get into a playoff situation like this, it re-energizes you. It gets you excited." 

Panik was thrown right into the starting lineup for the first game of this crucial series with Washington, despite having only just signed with New York. 

Listen to Mets games this season on the team's new flagship station -- our sister station -- WCBS 880 AM.