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Is second baseman Joe Panik a trade target?

Spring Training starts in less than 40 days, and the Milwaukee Brewers are still looking to add a second baseman. There has been a small amount of smoke surrounding Joe Panik and the Brewers. Could he end up in Milwaukee before pitchers and catchers report?

Hernan Perez, Tyler Saladino, and Cory Spangenberg are the current options listed at second base for the Milwaukee Brewers. For a team looking to return to the World Series for the first time in over 35 years, that list doesn’t inspire much confidence. The Brewers could still stand to upgrade the second base position before Keston Hiura gets his chance at the job. One place they could try to find an improvement is in San Francisco with Joe Panik.

How was his 2018 season?

Not good. Panik missed time with a left groin strain and a ligament issue in his left thumb, and struggled when he was on the field.

Panik slashed .254/.307/.332 in 102 games last year. He only managed four homers and four steals while posting a 0.1 WAR.

He was better than that earlier in his career right?

Yes. Panik managed double-digit homers in 2016 and 2017. He also enjoyed a 3.8 WAR season in 2015, his first full season in the Majors.

Why is Panik a good fit for the Brewers?

Panik isn’t overly expensive, already has a contract in place for 2019, and has one more year of team control before hitting free agency. He’s also a capable defender, and a move to Miller Park could help him on the offensive side. 2019 will be his age-28 season, and he’s a solid bounceback candidate given his track record and relative youth.

What would a deal look like?

That depends on how the San Francisco Giants view him. San Francisco doesn’t have much in their Minor League system at second base. While they are in the middle of a rebuild of sorts, they don’t have an obvious second baseman of the future. However, Panik is a free agent after 2020, and doesn’t look like the long term answer.

It would be a shock to see the Giants demand a top prospect in return, but he might cost a prospect in the 10-to-20 range in the top-30, plus a lottery ticket or two. Lucas Erceg plus extras feels like an overpay for the Milwaukee Brewers. Would Tyrone Taylor or Trent Grisham plus extras get the deal done? It’s possible.

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Panik is signed for 2019 at $3.8 million and provides control beyond next year if the Milwaukee Brewers want to wait on Hiura. A deal for Panik makes sense on paper for the Brewers, and it would also allow the Giants to cut costs, and add athleticism and depth to their system. A trade here benefits both teams, but it remains to be seen if they’ll actually hook up on a deal, or we’ll just continue to wait for an upgrade to occur.

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