The Blue Jays have selected the contract of veteran infielder Joe Panik, as first indicated on the league transactions log at MLB.com. Right-hander Yennsy Diaz was placed on the 60-day injured list in a corresponding roster move. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that the move is indeed official, adding that Panik had an opt-out clause in his contract, which necessitated the transaction. It’s also likely that with the league instructing teams to send non-40-man players home (if they’re safely able to do so), the Jays wanted to act quickly to ensure that Panik is able to remain with the group.
The 29-year-old Panik was the Giants’ first-round pick back in 2011 and ascended to the role of everyday second baseman in San Francisco by 2014. He held that role late into the 2019 season, but the Giants, amid a rebuild phase and hoping to evaluate a younger wave of long-term pieces, designated Panik for assignment in early August and released him shortly thereafter. He quickly signed on with the Mets and finished out the year in a part-time role there.
This past season marked a second consecutive rough year at the plate for Panik, who slashed a combined .249/.311/.334 in 883 plate appearance from 2018-19. That’s a far cry from the quality .282/.345/.408 (105 OPS+) that Panik posted from 2014-17 — a stretch wherein he made the 2015 All-Star Game and won a Gold Glove in 2016. Injuries have surely played a part in his downturn. Since 2015, a stress fracture in his back, multiple bouts of concussion symptoms, thumb surgery and a groin strain have all sent Panik to the injured list. He avoided the IL in 2019, although the litany of injuries certainly could have had a lingering effect on his play.
Prior to the league’s coronavirus shutdown, though, Panik looked quite comfortable in camp with the Jays. It’s only 10 games and 26 plate appearances, but Panik went 8-for-21 with a pair of homers, a triple and more walks (four) than strikeouts (three). It’s difficult to glean too much from that limited showing, but the Blue Jays were impressed enough to add Panik to the roster, thus locking in a $2.85MM base salary for the veteran infielder.
A bench role may be likelier for Panik than a starting role, as Cavan Biggio’s youth and his .364 on-base percentage in 100 big league games last season will probably get him the nod in that regard. Biggio hit .234/.364/.429 with 16 home runs, 17 doubles, a pair of triples and 14 steals in 430 plate appearances as a rookie, and the Blue Jays will surely want to give him a large role to see if he can solidify himself as the primary second baseman for years to come. But Panik is plenty capable of playing both up-the-middle positions — he was drafted as a shortstop but moved to second base due to Brandon Crawford’s presence in San Francisco — and could conceivably be asked to be a backup option at third base as well.
As for the 23-year-old Diaz, it’s not yet clear what his actual injury is. The Jays haven’t made a formal announcement of the roster move yet, however, so details will surely emerge when they publicly acknowledge the transaction. Diaz ranks 26th among Jays farmhands at FanGraphs and 29th at MLB.com. He spent the 2019 season with their Double-A club, pitching to a 3.74 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.75 HR/9 and a 40 percent ground-ball rate before appearing in a single big league game last September.
Ive always like panik. Good for him
The Jays basically swapped Urena for Panik.
A MLB player for a AAAA player. Yes.
Joe Panik sucks
Wow just another way to “Panik” over the coronavirus
Best of luck to Joe with the Blue Jays. I think he still has some gas in his tank, and it will ultimately prove to be a good acquisition for Jays.
Select for what there’s no baseball in 2020
Let’s hypothetically say you are correct. I wonder if all contracts would be frozen i.e. no free agency next winter?.
Not really an unexpected move, good limited spring training for Panik he should fit in nicely and is still only 29 years old
You can count on Panik to make contact. Always liked him up with runners in scoring position.
curious how the 60 day IL will work. i feel like some changes have to be made to keep teams from abusing it.
So he joins the 40 Man waiting list
With the 15th pick in the 2020 Coronavirus draft, the Toronto Blue Jay’s have selected Joe Panik, Second Baseman from the Greatest Pun Society of America.
yeah, Jays shouldn’t be panicking like some are
Jay’s opened the door for so many Dad Jokes today.
Good move. Joe Panik is solid and a winning player, just as long as he’s not being asked to start. He’s definitely a guy who can help mentor the other younger players in the Jays’ infield. They need to axe Drury now.
Panik move from the Jays
Doubt he plays for them this year, along with his teammates.
IDK I think they Paniked.
As others eluded. Likely end of Drury in Toronto. Didn’t take much to upgrade either.
This does nothing to Drury. Drury is currently the RH bat on the bench. He’s safe for now.
Yeah. They need 13 position players. Its Drury or Alford. I dont like Alfords chances.
They are both safe unless the team really does not care for Alford. Still do not see where Drury is in-trouble, especially since the Jays were all for keeping him and paying him rather than non-tender him months ago.
He’s versatile in the field. They don’t keep him around for his bat.
They have plenty of versatility. He’s kept because he swings right handed.
Left. Joe Panik is kept because he swings left handed.
You know teams have been in camp now for awhile so they had to look at the players in person instead of ” on paper” , teams might realize that they arent as comfortable as what they think. Be a perfect time to possibly have a minor trade deadline while waiting for the go ahead for season. Be interesting if some GMs try to capitalize on this window. Not to mention teams could take advantage of 60 day IL. Wonder if any of the free agents can benefit at all. Devon Travis
Panik earned it. He played well and looked good in Spring. He played like nothing was going to be handed to him. Good first impression.
I watched him almost nightly when he was in AA. He was a local favorite while he was around. I hope he sticks.
Great news for Panik and great addition for Toronto. Panik will be successful.
Happy for Panik and good job to the Jays. Joe has a ring and having a guy like him in the clubhouse will be great for Toronto. He’s still got gas, he’s only 29!
Hey Jays fans here’s a silver lining to the coronaV: based on Shapiro’s age alone we won’t have to be subject to his mindless corporate verbal toilet splash for a while. His ultra skeletal persona can’t haunt us…for now!!! Once this CoronaV is gone SkeleToronto will be back!