The rebuild of the Giants organization over the past 20 months has been swift, with a new front office taking over, a new manager in place, and plenty of Forever Giants wearing new colors.
Over time, fans have somewhat gotten used to the culture of change, but last August, most of the championship crew was still in place, which made the decision to DFA Joe Panik so hard for so many people to take. August 6 was an emotional day at Oracle Park, and in a Zoom interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez, Panik said it was "probably the toughest moment" of his career and called the move a "gut punch."
"That conversation with Boch -- Boch has meant so much to me in my career," Panik said. "I remember walking into my first spring training at 21 years old and meeting Boch in 2012. He's the only manager I've known, all that stuff. That was a very, very tough conversation."
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Panik was having a down year at the plate and the Giants had just traded for Mauricio Dubon and Scooter Gennett, a veteran they were eager to take a look at. Bochy was emotional when he met with reporters after the move, saying it was one of the more difficult conversations of his lengthy career.
"It's always tough when you see one of your guys go," Bochy said that day.
As hard as in early August, Panik said he's now in a good place, in large part because of what happened next. Panik, who grew up and lives in upstate New York, signed with the Mets and saw immediate improvement, hitting .273 the rest of the way and raising his OPS more than 100 points.
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Panik told Gutierrez he was fortunate to end up back home, and he has continued to build on that late run in New York. After signing with the Blue Jays as a non-roster invitee, he went 8-for-21 with a couple of spring homers. As the sport was shutting down because of COVID-19, Panik was added to Toronto's 40-man roster, a sure sign that he's in their Opening Day plans. Whenever play resumes, he'll supplement what is perhaps the most exciting group of young position players in the league.
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"I would love to have played 10, 12, 15 years in San Francisco, but sometimes you need to hit the reset button," Panik said. "For me, coming back to New York, I hit the reset button with a fresh start."