The Blue Jays have agreed to a minor league contract with free-agent infielder Joe Panik, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). The Jet Sports client will be invited to Major League Spring Training and would earn $1.85MM with another $400K available via incentives if he makes the roster.
It’s the second straight minor league pact with Toronto for Panik, who ultimately did crack the 2020 roster and appear in 41 games for the Jays. The longtime Giants infielder tallied 141 trips to the plate with Toronto, batting at a .225/.340/.300 clip with a homer, six doubles and a gaudy 14.2 percent walk rate.
Panik hasn’t hit for much average since his first two years in the Majors, but he’s settled in as a quality defender with a solid walk rate and one of the game’s lower strikeout rates. Dating back to the 2016 season, Panik carries a .255/.324/.366 slash in addition to a 2016 Gold Glove Award for his work at second base. He’s played second base almost exclusively in his MLB career, but Panik was a college shortstop who also saw time at third base with the Blue Jays in 2020.
If he’s able to make their roster a second time, Panik could bounce around the infield as a utility piece. Santiago Espinal is his primary competition on the 40-man roster for that role, though the Jays will also have Richard Urena in camp as a non-roster invitee.