The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that Kolten Wong will be signing a five-year extension to stay with the club through 2020 with a club option for 2021.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 2, 2016
Baseball Essential writer Corey Adams (@corey_adams) wrote about the Wong extension earlier today.
So what does this mean for the San Francisco Giants’ homegrown second baseman Joe Panik? Panik went to his first All-Star game in 2015 and won a championship with the Giants his rookie year. A back injury limited his 2015 season to 100 games. That means Panik will be heading into his third different season in the major leagues, but he hasn’t actually played a full season yet. However, the former first-round pick has been impressive from the day he joined the Giants during their World Series run in 2014.
Panik had a slash line in 2015 of .312/.378/.455 with an OPS of .833, an OPS+ of 131, and a Wins Above Replacement of 3.3. He also played Gold Glove-level defense at second base, and had he not been injured, may have been in the running for the award.
Wong played in 150 games in 2015, with a slash line of .262/.321/.386 with an OPS of .707, an OPS+ of 92, and a Wins Above Replacement of 2.2. Wong had a small sample size in 2013 and played in 113 games in 2014. Wong’s career WAR is 3.9, just slightly higher than Panik’s production in only 100 games in 2015.
The Giants recently gave an extension to Panik’s double play partner Brandon Crawford earlier this offseason. The Giants also have long term deals set with Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner and newly acquired Jeff Samardzija. Johnny Cueto, another offseason acquisition, can opt out of his deal in two years, but could possibly be another long-term fixture for the Giants.
Will Panik be the next player to get an extension? The team may also consider extensions for Brandon Belt and Matt Duffy as well. The Giants has shown a willingness to be patient with their extensions. Wong’s deal certainly sets the bar for negotiations, so the question will be how much higher will the bar go for Panik?