The San Francisco Giants have an interesting decision to make regarding second baseman Joe Panik and his future with the team.
A clutch walk-off single on Tuesday night was the perfect encapsulation of the recent hot streak that San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik is riding.
Since moving into the leadoff spot in the batting order on April 28th, he’s hitting .324/.430/.437 with 12 runs scored in 86 plate appearances.
This brings into question his future with the team.
Sadly, any time a Giants player has performed well this season, the conversation immediately shifts to his trade value. That is just the reality of a team that is struggling and likely considering a rebuild.
So, with Panik’s recent resurgence, what does that mean for his future with the team?
He is clearly a fan favorite, so trading him in the next new months would be an unpopular but understandable decision by the front office for the right return.
The 28-year-old is a free agent after the 2020 season. However, the Giants front office could use this most recent offseason to illustrate what a nightmare free agency has become in an effort to try to convince him to sign a team-friendly deal. That would provide him with some sense of stability and job security.
It’s also worth mentioning the fact that there are no real prospects waiting in the wings to replace Panik. In fact, beyond Panik and shortstop Brandon Crawford, the entire middle infield situation is weak.
Heck, even if the Giants still had someone like Alen Hanson who I would feel somewhat comfortable with at second, then trading Panik would be a little easier to swallow.
Alas, Hanson was let go in the Pillar trade, so there is no safety net to rely on.
If the Giants are able to get a nice return for Panik from a team desperate for a second baseman, then I say pull the trigger and figure out a long-term solution somewhere down the road.
But if the Giants feel that what they’re being offered isn’t worth it, bringing Panik back on a short-term deal would benefit both Panik and the team in that there would not be a second baseman-sized roster hole.
While many of the team’s veterans will almost certainly be playing elsewhere in the near future, Panik is an interesting case and one worth further examination in the days and weeks to come.