Joe Panik

Joe Panik signs with hometown Mets after six seasons with Giants

Joe Panik signs with hometown Mets after six seasons with Giants

It didn't take long for Joe Panik to find a new home.

The Giants designated the second baseman for assignment Tuesday after acquiring Scooter Gennett at the MLB trade deadline.

Panik appears to have found a nice landing spot, though, as he is set to join the New York Mets.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman was first to report that Panik was expected to join New York.

The Mets have caught fire of late, winning 14 of 16 games to pull within a half-game of the second NL wild-card spot.

[RELATED: Panik's Giants career had number of memorable moments]

Panik fills a clear need for the Mets following Robinson Cano's potentially season-ending hamstring injury.

The veteran second baseman grew up in Yonkers, New York and attended St. John's University. 

This season with the Giants, Panik hit .235 with three home runs and 27 RBI.

MLB rumors: Ex-Giant Joe Panik, Mets have 'mutual interest' in signing

MLB rumors: Ex-Giant Joe Panik, Mets have 'mutual interest' in signing

Joe Panik's heart always will be in San Francisco, but his home is New York. And the former Giants second baseman could be headed home. 

MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported Thursday that Panik and the New York Mets have mutual interest in each other. The Mets could sign Panik now, but DiComo reports they're likely waiting until he clears waivers on Friday.

Panik and the Mets might be a perfect match, too.

The former Giant is a New York native who played collegiately at St. John's University in Queens. He also fills a hole for the Mets at second base as Robinson Cano is expected to miss most -- if not all -- of the rest of the season with a torn left hamstring. 

Panik, an All-Star in 2015, has struggled at the plate this season. Before the Giants designated him for assignment on Tuesday, Panik was batting just .235 with a lowly .627 OPS. But he is a .271 career hitter and coming home could revitalize his career. 

Over his six-year career, Panik has played 15 games at the Mets' home ballpark and is batting .269 with two homers at Citi Field. 

[RELATED: Why cutting Panik was different than previous Giants moves]

Panik made many memorable moments with the Giants, including one of the greatest double plays in World Series history. The Mets entered Thursday a half-game out of the second NL wild-card spot -- three games ahead of San Francisco -- and Panik could bring a boost to the Big Apple with his postseason pedigree.

Why Giants DFAing Joe Panik was different than all the previous moves

Why Giants DFAing Joe Panik was different than all the previous moves

SAN FRANCISCO -- The next player the Giants use will be their 50th, and with the way this season has gone, it shouldn't be more than a few days before that player arrives. 

Farhan Zaidi has tried to look for an edge at every turn, and for the most part it has worked. The Giants are, somewhat surprisingly, still in contention for a postseason spot, but this season has certainly been an adjustment for a veteran clubhouse. 

Just when it seemed guys had gotten used to the churn, Joe Panik, a longtime member of the core, was designated for assignment. Zaidi has DFA'd or optioned plenty of familiar names, but Panik was by far the biggest to be let go by the new regime. It caught players by surprise a bit, even if they knew the reality of the situation when Scooter Gennett was acquired last week. 

"He's the player I've played with in the most games who was just suddenly designated," shortstop Brandon Crawford said. 

Crawford said he had given some thought to other noteworthy moves and the only comparison he could make was George Kontos being DFA'd in August two years ago. Kontos was a longtime member of the bullpen and a friend to many in the clubhouse, but Panik was at another level, having been a starter since 2014. It was just a week ago that he took the infield in Philadelphia with Brandon Belt, Crawford, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey. Those five were starters back in 2014, too. 

But this season has been about change, and more is on the way. Already, the Giants have turned over the majority of their roster. 

Including starting pitcher Conner Menez, five of Tuesday's nine starters were not on the Opening Day roster. Of the 25 active players Tuesday, 13 were not with the team for Opening Day. 

Still, this move was different, and Zaidi nodded when asked if it felt like a bigger deal to part ways with Panik. He mentioned his "personal fondness for the player."

"I probably have less license to say that than some of the other people -- Boch and some of the other people -- but anytime you're dealing with that caliber of person and a player that always puts the team first -- which he does -- I think it makes it harder," Zaidi said. "I think a lot of the fans' affection for him has been that he's been a winning player. It's not what's on the back of his baseball card, but what he helped this organization and this team accomplish." 

For Zaidi to get this roster where it needs to be, more difficult decisions will have to be made. He already has proven with the Mark Melancon trade that he's adept at shedding big contracts. The Panik move was the first to subtract from the core, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see plenty more action involving marquee names this offseason.

[RELATED: NY paper wants Panik on Mets]

Those next moments will be just as tough on the clubhouse. This has been mostly the same group for years, and it was jarring to see a member of the championship era walk out the door. 

"The longer you're in it, the more you're going to see stuff like that," Crawford said. "But it's definitely tough to lose somebody like Joe."