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Hopewell Resident Had A Strong Spring Before MLB Suspended Season

TORONTO – If and when Major League Baseball begins play in 2020 after suspending its season due to the coronavirus, John Jay High School graduate Joe Panik will have a great chance to be back in the bigs.

Panik, whose career was at a crossroads last year, was added to the 40-man major league roster by the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.

Panik had signed a minor league deal with the Jays in January. Slumping the last two years, the San Francisco Giants released him after six seasons in the summer of 2019, when he hooked on with the New York Mets to play second base for the remainder of the year. But the Mets didn’t tender the 2015 All-Star a contract and Panik became a free agent.


The lefty-swinging infielder had a strong spring before MLB suspended the season. Panik hit .381 with a triple, two home runs and five RBIs in 10 spring training games.

Panik will sign a one-year contract that pays $2.85 million per year while he’s in the majors, and a $195,000 salary in the minors. He can earn $150,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $50,000 each for 400, 450 and 500 plate appearances.

That might be difficult to attain. Toronto has a younger, starting second baseman ahead of him in Cavan Biggio, who had a strong rookie season in 2019. But Panik can also play shortstop and would be an asset with his ability to be a utility player.




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