Why Mets Are Perfect Fit for Joe Panik After Six Seasons With Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Joe Panik said his heart will always be with the Giants, but after they let him go, he's headed home.

Panik, designated for assignment earlier in the week, cleared waivers on Friday and will sign with the New York Mets, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. The second baseman ended up with the team he targeted after the Giants designated him, and he'll play the rest of this season just over an hour away from his hometown. 

Panik is from Hopewell Junction, a small town in upstate New York that's located about 70 miles from Citi Field. He went to St. John's University and still lives in Hopewell Junction in the offseason with his wife, Brittany. He proposed to her during a walk through Central Park after the 2014 title run. Panik's family still lives in New York and his brother, Paul, is the head baseball coach at Iona, where Joe works out sometimes in the offseason. 

The connections are all there, and that'll please some former teammates who had to deal with hard news this week. The Panik move brought a somber mood to the clubhouse, but a couple of his teammates said they were hopeful he would end up with the Mets, both for personal and baseball reasons. 

The surging NL East club is back near the top of the Wild Card race and in need of a second baseman after Robinson Cano suffered a torn hamstring that could end his season. There should be plenty of opportunity for Panik, who lost his previous job to Scooter Gennett.

Panik has always liked hitting at Citi Field and he'll have a chance to boost his profile under bright lights and in a push for the postseason. The Mets have won 13 of 14 and have a huge series against the Nationals this weekend. 

[RELATED: Panik's most memorable moments with Giants]

In a text to NBC Sports Bay Area earlier this week, Panik said he's grateful for his time with the Giants but ready for the next step.

"It is time for me to start the next chapter in my career," he said. "But in my heart I will always be a Giant."

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