There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of the San Francisco Giants trading Joe Panik in a big acquisition like Giancarlo Stanton.
There are certainly a lot of Giants fans out there who support Joe Panik. Over the last seven years we’ve come to love those who grow up in the organization and help us win.
Panik is perhaps the last of that group, and so some have an emotional tie with him.
But apart from that, Panik has also shown that he can be a very solid major league player.
The Giants drafted him in the first round of the 2011 draft out of St. John’s University.
He reached the big leagues three years later, and in four major league seasons and 1,626 at-bats he’s posted a career average of .282 and an on-base-percentage of .345.
In 2014 he finished sixth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. The following season he was an All-Star when he hit .312 with a .378 on-base-percentage, but second half injuries limited him to just 100 games played.
And then in 2016 he won the NL Gold Glove award at second base.
This past season he hit .288 in the most at-bats of his career (511) and games played (138) with a .347 on-base-percentage.
He’s also hit 10 home runs in back-to-back seasons, showing the ability to be a perennial double-digit home run player.
You can certainly live with that type of production from your second baseman. The problem is that the Giants aren’t getting enough production from the rest of their lineup; therefore, too much is being asked of Panik.
In reality, Panik is someone you’d want to put in the bottom three spots of your lineup. Instead, the majority of his major league at-bats have come in the two-spot.
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And it’s not like Panik has done a terrible job there. He has a .292 average in 1,178 at-bats from the second spot.
So it’s really hard to evaluate Panik. And as much as he’s been around, you still fill like you haven’t gotten a great look at Panik because he’s had some injury problems and hasn’t played more than 138 games in a season.
Panik begins his first year of arbitration in 2018, where he’ll get a significant increase in salary. But he’s still under team control for three more years.
My opinion on the matter is a bit confusing. I think Panik is a very serviceable player at second base, but nothing more. I think his production level can be replaced quite easily, possibly even by someone like Christian Arroyo in 2018.
But at the same time, I’d rather keep a known commodity like Panik and trade the unknown like Arroyo.
In the end, if a team values Panik and it helps sweeten a deal for a major impact player, then I’m all for trading him this offseason. But if not, I’m more than happy with having him be the Giants second baseman for the next three years.