Brandon Crawford has been a staple of the Giants’ roster for years. Having grown up in the Bay Area a fan of the club, he was drafted by them in 2008 and then made his major league debut in 2011. He has been the regular shortstop in San Francisco for over a decade now, a tenure that includes a pair of World Series titles in 2012 and 2014. That will continue for at least one more season, with 2023 being the final guaranteed season on his current contract.
There were times this offseason when it seemed like that was going to change. The Giants heavily pursued Carlos Correa and agreed to a 13-year, $350MM deal that would have seen him take over the position, with Crawford getting bumped to third base. Back in December, Crawford reacted to the news by providing some comments via text message to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, seeming accepting of the situation though not exactly enthused. “He is a shortstop and since the signing the other day, I’ve been told that that’s where he’ll stay, so that puts me in a much different situation than I’ve ever been faced with in professional baseball,” Crawford said. “So, the rest of this off-season, spring training, and during the season, I will be working my hardest to be the best I can be at a different position and help us get back to the postseason.”
However, Correa’s free agency still had a few surprising twists remaining. The Giants grew concerned by the health of Correa’s right ankle when going through his physical examination and the deal ultimately fell through. Correa and his reps then worked out a new 12-year deal with the Mets, though that was also scuttled when the Mets found themselves similarly concerned by the ankle. Correa wound up returning to the Twins on a much more modest six-year deal, though with vesting options that can extend it by four further seasons. All of that will now be a footnote in Giants’ history, with the Crawford era at shortstop continuing uninterrupted into 2023.
The club held its Fan Fest event this weekend, with Crawford among the players in attendance, and he spoke to members of the media such as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. “For about a week, I was mentally preparing myself for the challenges of playing a position like that,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I was necessarily looking forward to it, but at the same time, I was maybe excited for a new challenge. I was watching some Nolan Arenado film. It is what it is at this point. Now I don’t have to worry about that.”
The Giants are heading into 2023 with the 36-year-old Crawford a key piece of their roster, as both he and the club will be looking to bounce back from a rough season. In 2021, Crawford hit .298/.373/.522 for a wRC+ of 138, indicating he was 38% better than the league average hitter. He also got great marks for his glovework and stole 11 bases, leading to a tally of 6.3 wins above replacement in the eyes of FanGraphs. That was the highest such mark of his career and helped the Giants to a franchise high win total of 107. But 2022 saw Crawford deal with injuries and slump to .231/.308/.344 and a wRC+ of 80 as the club had an 81-81 season. He thinks he’s well positioned for a better showing in 2023, indicating he believes both his health and the lockout contributed to his woes last year.
“It was really hard to be able to get on a field and take batting practice or do long toss or do some of the ground ball work that I would [usually] do at one of our facilities,” Crawford said of last year’s lockout. “This year, I’ve been able to do all that and hit with our coaches, which is another big thing that I wasn’t able to do last year. They can see where my swing is at and go from there. Also, it’s good having our strength coach and trainers so that if anything pops up, they’re able to have eyes on me and I can work with them.” He also added: “I think I started getting into some bad habits without having our coaches seeing some things and picking up those things that I was creating.
On the health front, Crawford hit the injured list in June of last year due to left knee inflammation, but returned after a minimum 10-day stint. However, the issue persisted and he was back on the IL in mid-July and would miss about three weeks. “That second IL stint was a little bit longer and being able to play a couple of rehab games to make sure that it was feeling better, I think that was a lot smarter and we probably should have done that the first time. But I felt a lot better after that.”
The Giants brought in many free agents for 2023, including Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto, Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling and Taylor Rogers, but a healthy and effective Crawford could be one of the most significant boosts for the club this season. As mentioned, it will be the final year on the extension Crawford signed in August of 2021 and decisions will have to be made about the years ahead. “There’s definitely been some thought,” Crawford says. “I wouldn’t say I have an answer one way or the other on what I want to do. There’s definitely been some talk and I’ve thought about it for sure, but yeah, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer right now.”
Kudos to Crawford for being a professional.
He’s as good as a man as those Giants are
Craw is the definition of a “Pro” & a clubhouse leader. Sincerely want to see Crawford contribute & lead us to a successful Giants 2023 season.& a WS.
None of this matters. The SF Giants are irrelevant. Maybe if things this break their way, They’ll finish above .500 this year….Maybe. I mean, it’s only happened once since 2016.
Kinda like an original thought and comment from you….
“Only once since 2016”
chumpy is so transparent it’s laughable. He’s always very careful not categorize by losing season, because the Giants have had only 2 since FZ took over, He tries very hard to make things look as bad as possible, which is why he always references “winning season”, and “above” .500. Pathetic.
Pathetic with the thumbs up to his own comments, so obvious.
Champy…get over your titles the Yankees won a hundred years ago. It’s not the 1920’s. Nobody cares! World Series titles in the last decade & a half: SF Giants 3. NY Yankees 1.
Facts! Call me when you guys can get past the Astros. Buh-bye
Bearded Texas Hulk
Michael Young did the same thing twice (moving for other players). It’s what professionals do.
deGrom Texas Ranger
But, he whined about it and felt entitled to his own position, despite terrible defensive numbers. I remember it being a reluctant move. He seemed more like Jeter than anyone.
Jeter never commented nor was ever publicly asked to move to 3B when ARod got traded to the Yankees. I believe Brian Cashman said he never asked. ARod himself did all the talking. Was ARod the better SS? Yes. Is Jeter, still in his prime, entitled to his own personal biases after winning four championships as starting SS and being team captain. Yes. Comparing Michael Young’s situation to Jeter’s is a false narrative.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Winning 4 championships hardly means anything about that one player. So many worthless guys have won championships. The thing is that they probably never asked him to move due to his attitude.
On a separate note, Jeter did make a fuss the Yankees didn’t want to overpay him in free agency in 2010 because he was entitled to being overpaid after already getting a way over market 10/180 deal the first time when a superstar Arod only got 10/252 for being light years better than him. https://www.nj.com/yankees/2010/11/agent_for_yanks_free_agent_der.html
This guy was demanding 6/150 going into his age 37 season in 2010. If this isn’t entitlement, I don’t know what is. “Still, the offer is higher than what industry experts believe is Jeter’s worth on the open market: two years, at around $8 million to $10 million annually.” This guy has severe issues with reality. Believe whatever you will about his 6/150 demands, but even the contract he did get was ridiculous. He relied on the voracious media to intimidate the Yankees into blowing their cash on a has been. They sadly gave in to his childish demands.
“Attitude”? That’s a strawman argument.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Fair enough; still, a real leader would give up his own position if it helps the team instead of putting himself before the team. A Rod was superior in every way, and particularly defense. He was coined “baseball’s lightning rod.”
False narrative? Probably. But false? Probably not. Jeter only kept SS because he had the oh so coveted “Captain” title. Otherwise A-Rod would’ve had it for the same reason Correa would’ve taken it from Crawford.
“Winning 4 championships doesn’t mean anything?” Umm, to quote Herm Edwards: “you play to win the game.” Then you imply Jeter was worthless? You are not qualified to talk baseball. You clearly have no clue what you’re talking about. That’s one of the dumbest takes I’ve ever heard. Winning championships mean everything. And when you’re the team captain on 4 of them, you’re the opposite of worthless. Your take was worthless. I’m not even a Yankee fan.
Chipper Jones switched positions too despite the fact it probably contributed to him getting injured more. He moved from 3rd to outfield and I don’t think he ever complained about it. He might have even offered to do it. He would do anything if he believed it would help the team. I don’t see how Jeter should have been anymore entitled to keep his position than Chipper Jones. Chipper was willing to do it to get Vinny Castilla too. That guy was never anything close to A-Rod. I don’t really get the whole “let the player keep his position out of respect” thing. All the players should be willing to do whatever they can to make the team better. I don’t know that the Yankees ever asked Jeter though. I think it’s possible Jeter didn’t even want A-Rod on the team and the Yankees already felt bad enough by trading for him despite Jeter’s wishes. For all we know Jeter knew A-Rod was a juicer and didn’t think it was a good idea for that reason. In that case he would have just been looking out for the team. There’s also the possibility that Jeter’s stats usually looked much more impressive for a shortstop than they would have for a corner infielder. A-Rod and Chipper were going to look like great offensive players for any position they were at but back in the steroid era Jeter may have ended up looking unfairly worse if his offensive numbers had to start being compared to the average steroid era third baseman instead of his original position shortstop. He was still one of the best hitting shortstops back then but probably not at a corner position. He may have been a better defensive third baseman than he was a shortstop though. But in general I have more respect for the players who are willing to move positions to make the team better and having A-Rod at short back then would have made the Yankees better defensively without hurting them offensively at all.
Its sad to see Boegarts insist he be the SS in SD when they already have Kim, who is vastly superior defensively. He should have offered, for the amount they’re paying him, to play anywhere the team will have the best chance of winning.
I think that’s less on Bogaerts and more on Preller for signing him in the first place
Andddddd he’s joined the thread with another “giants can’t play .500 ball” comment. Welp.
Crawford seems like he is coming in with a chip on his shoulder, which is good. First for the Giants not keeping him in the loop they were in on Correa and he may have to move off SS and then indeed telling him he was gonna play third once the Correa news came out.
Craw was banged up last year. His defense started resembling its normal stellar self towards the end of the year when his ailments started subsiding.
I expect a solid Craw year this year and perhaps a one year extension since the farm doesn’t have a SS ready to replace him and a weak SS free agent market next offseason. Luciano looks like he’ll switch off SS sooner than later.
Hoping Craw bounces back and has a good season all around.
An all time Giant. Hope he has a hell of a year
I’m not directing this at Crawford as I’ve read other players also say that the lockout interfered with their offseason routines. They also knew that a lockout was looming so there should be contingency plans in place. If you’re a well-paid vet, isn’t it your own responsibility to find access to non-MLB facilities and personnel to help you train and stayed prepared? There are former coaches and video coordinators around that they can consult with. Simply said, I don’t buy that excuse.
Giants are all about coaching and preparation. Pretty sure some random 3rd party coach isn’t going to know the intricacies of your game like your Giants guy.
deGrom Texas Ranger
The same can be said about guys like Juan Soto not being able to afford a private jet to fly to the all star game. It’s almost like they think MLB players and minor leaguers are all paid equally.
As professionals, I suggest most MLB players were prepared & had access to alternative training sites & regimens. The issue is training in a public or pvt gym & park with your personal traitor is simply not the same without the Tec, dedicated equipment & coaches, medical personnel & facilities they are normally train in & with.. Its Not Even Close, This is especially true for an older player or a player who has preexisting injuries and/or surgeries they are rehabilitating & recovering from..
Dread Pirate Roberts
Crawford is the last remaining Giant from the world series teams, hopefully he can find his 2021 form
It’s really nice to click on a Giants post on this site and not see random trolls just trashing on the team. Not sure if that happens on other team’s posts as well or if it’s a uniquely Giants problem – but it’s nice to see constructive comments/criticism/opinions for a change. Kudos to all.
Hi Andy, 100% agree with you. Hopefully the doomer trolls stay away for once. It’s been a loooong winter with the Judge and Correa mess and even after the truth came out, the doomers couldn’t let go of their tiresome negativity. Personally I am stoked for the season, and I’m so looking forward to playing ball. I love Zaidi, I know not all his moves have been perfect but he’s also done lots of great things. I can’t wait to see a few of our kids rise up this year and more next. I hope the Giants kick ass and quiet the doomers for good!
Well said, Agnes.
deGrom Texas Ranger
It happens to every team whenever there is a big signing. I saw dozens of Mets and Astros fans tying to spread their misery on the deGrom, Eovaldi, and Heaney posts. Ignore what people say. There is a mute button for that. There will always be fans of 29 teams who are upset. Even if most handle it decently, those who comment tend to feel the strongest and don’t represent a majority. Most fans understand how free agency works. It’s just jealousy. Think about this: the Astros won the World Series, (I dislike them, but still) and they still get trolls. The Mets have them too, as do the Angels, etc. Fans complain either that the team is overpaying and buying championships or that the team owners are greedy and don’t spend. There is literally nobody immune from this. It’s just the internet. You can inject negativity into literally everything.
As for the Giants, they dodged a major bullet with Judge getting 10 years, but the Correa deal would have been okay. It’s certainly better than the Seager and Semien deals. It’s still a good offseason when you get several starters on 2 year deals, in addition to Haniger, Taylor Rogers, and Conforto (though overpaid, this is still something). I really wanted Hanniger, but I’m obviously not complaining about an offseason in which deGrom became a Texas Ranger.
Agreed. Folks like this I’d why I read the comments section. Hopefully this thread stays that way.
Amen, Andy. I’m loving the civility. There are some doomers, but you’re likely referring to one sad poster who had to switch usernames after his first account wore out its welcome. We’re a fairly respectful bunch.
Scutarointherain, It’s more than his second account. Maybe you haven’t been here as long as I have, or maybe haven’t connected the dots. The first account I noticed of that one sad poster, was 27ringsbitches. It’s possible he had an account before that, which I’m unaware of.
After 27rings, he became rightyspecialist, then tonygywnnSD19. Why? Who knows but it was about the most cynical choice I’ve ever seen here. He created tons of derision for the Padres with his posts, a team he isn’t even a fan of. Now he’s 27champyankees. At least now the allegiance is truthful. He gives Yankee fans, some of whom I really like, a bad name.
But he’s at least graduated from just the LOL guy…
Probably about the same time as he graduated from the eighth grade.
If a Giants fan wants to take a positive perspective on this 2023 team:
1- there seems to now be a good collection of professional hitters.
2- starting pitching depth is strong. Hopefully no more of Kapler’s openers.
3- bullpen stronger, last season’s gas cans were all let go.
4- Doval could become dominant.
5- outfield defense should be better with Pederson mostly DH’ing.
6- Crawford once again has something to prove.
7- Villar may be a rising young power guy.
8- is this the year Bart finally puts it together?
They have one really good SP and a bunch of question marks.
And how have the ? performed in recent years ?
Johnfromnj, Good list, except for #2. You make it sound like Kapler used the opener by choice. He wasn’t employing the opener as a tactic in itself. Last season, with injuries and without rotation depth, there were a number of games where a starter just wasn’t available. Kapler was forced to make, too many of those games, a bullpen game.
That took a tremendous toll on the pen, and Kapler has stated he was aware of that, and believes it was the cause of the poor relief corps’ performance. Bullpen games were used regretfully. Hopefully this year with much better depth we won’t see many, if any at all.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Bart was quite impressive as a prospect, with his college numbers and signing bonus, but it’s unfortunate what has become of him. I hope he finally figures it out, though.
Question for the avid Giants fans – how do you like Kapler?
He was not my cup of tea from the outset with the Phils, and the funny thing is that of what I knew about him before they hired him, I liked and respected him as a gamer.
However, his social media approach to doing business, his constant BS and lack of authenticity in approach and cult leader mentality drove me nuts. This, even though underneath it all I think that he is a good dude. He was just a bad leader of a clubhouse in Philly. Hope that he is figuring things out.
I think you nailed it in your observations. You captured the best and worst of his qualities, which sound like they have not really changed from Philly to SF.
Kapler is a progressive in a traditional man’s game. Zero chance of being judged fairly.
CarverAndrews, As a Phillies’ fan you must know that the FO wanted to retain Kapler. It was the owner that wanted to let him go. So I question how bad a clubhouse leader he was. Kapler seems to have a good working relationship with Zaidi. So as long as Larry Baer is happy with Zaidi, my guess is Kapler will be around as long as Zaidi is.
My opinion of his personality differs from my opinion of him professionally. I don’t really like how he comes across. He apparently has worked hard at being smooth in front of the cameras, but I’d like him better if he was less a polished TV personality, and was a little more real.
Professionally, I have no real issues with how he manages. Fans will say he makes mistakes, but what that really means is he did something that the fan would have done differently, and is judged in hindsight. What good managers do is go with the best odds of success, and sometimes it doesn’t work. But most times it does. It’s funny how fans forget what he did with a team of no superstars (other than Posey) in 2021.
No one that doesn’t have a friend on the inside, knows how he is in the clubhouse. 2022 wasn’t his fault, and if players looked unhappy last season, it’s probably due to their losing games. But I never saw any Giants’ player quit last season. And that tells me Kapler is not an issue with the players.
Thanks for the thoughtful answers. To clarify after reading the reactions:
* I think that it is very hard for fans to judge managers anyway, and we are usually unfair based upon limited information, access and understanding.
* I place far less emphasis on game day decisions than most. A baseball manager’s biggest job is herding the clubhouse and preparing them to be at their best. So his analytically driven game day decisions never really bothered me…except for a few of them that were simply egregiously stupid. But that stuff had nothing to do with my distaste.
* Yes, he was a bit divisive in the clubhouse due to his nature. Yes, there were enough things said from those that were there. No one hated Kapler…he is not someone to hate. It really all boiled down to some parts of the clubhouse were completely on board with him. Others read him the same way that we discussed…the constant selling of Kaplerism and the lack of underlying authenticity. That can work for a while, but it palls quickly.
* Yeah the front office (Saberboy Klentak) did not want to fire him. Great – the worst GM in years hired him and wanted to keep him. Great recommendation.
Kapler is a decent man. But I don’t ever want to see him managing the Phils again. Rob Thomson, OTOH, is as genuine a person as one can find in baseball and I love having him here.
Wilmer the Thrillmer
On the basis of his 2021 Manager of the Year award and his openness to cutting edge data and coaching utilization, Kapler will not have any problems getting a managerial job for years to come.
That said as a devout Giants fan I think Joe Maddon would be the better manager for the Giants. Maddon is the ultimate player’s manager and communicator and is great with the press. Kapler is very measured and guarded with the press and I think he lost the bullpen in 2022.
Here is the Cliff Notes version of a Kapler vs. a Thomson for me.
When Thomson talks, I want to hear more, in whatever he might like to share it. When Kapler talks, all that I can think is “please just stop talking”.
“Uncle Joe” is probably done managing in the big leagues. His schtik wears off quicker with each team and unless you are rebuilding team full of young players a veteran clubhouse will reject him almost immediately
CarverAndrews, Good points. All I’d say to contradict anything is your assertion that Klentak was a bad GM. DD has been the PBO for only 2 years. So it would seem, to me anyway, that a lot of credit for the core of that 2022 team should be given to Klentak. DD might be popular with Phillies fans, and deservedly so, but there are fans of other teams that might characterize him much as you have Klentak.
I’m not defending Klentak. He’s had some draft failures, but every team has (see Astros). And he had some decent ones. He signed Wheeler and Realmuto. The Phillies improved every year of his tenure.
I could be wrong, but Middleton seems like an owner who’s a bit impatient, and willing to interfere. Plus 5 years isn’t long for turning around the 91 loss team he inherited. I understand them moving on from Klentak, just not sure he really was a bad GM.
Thanks Tad. So – I hear you, but will state that I follow rather closely. And yes – Middleton is an engaged owner, and hardly perfect. That is different from a meddling owner however, and the major instance of meddling is signing Bryce, where he overruled Klentak.
From a distance, I understand your perspective. From right up front, Klentak was a really bad GM, and what you point to as his major failure is not really it at all. While his talent judgments were not great and below par, his biggest failure was basically a matter of experience and mindset. He thought that he was smarter than most, and felt as if he was going to be able to reset the organization into his sabermetric dominated machine that would become the class of the league.
Player development went backwards in a big way (the biggest failing); real baseball experience and acumen was driven away, and what was supposed to be a rebuild ended up with far less talent coming up through the system than what he started with, and a really twisted approach to ruining talented youngsters. He was a disaster at a monumental level, and DD is only in the early stages of totally refashioning the entire baseball ops department.
What was done well were simply a few FA signings, and the best one was done over his objections in Harper. But dealing for JTR, buying Harper and Zack were great moves, and exactly the types of things that were not really what Klentak professed to be about and were more along the lines of MacPhail / Middleton calls. His calling card was based around building up the analytics, and thoroughly fixing the farm system. Which he did…he neutered it.
Perhaps Klentak is older and wiser at some point and gets another chance, but here he was basically too wet behind the ears, and too sure of himself when it came to reinventing the wheel. He is Middleton’s greatest failure to date.
Carver, I hear you, and again I understand them moving on from Klentak. And you’re much closer to what goes on with the Phillies that I can’t dispute what you say. But still not sure Klentak can just be labeled a bad GM. Some of the negatives were just luck. Mickey Moniak could have happened with any team drafting a kid out of HS, and that has happened to other teams. More bad luck when he traded David Whitehead for Charlie Morton, only to lose him for the season with injury. Again, I understand it, and it appears to me Klentak was in over his head. It will be interesting to see, since he is still young, if he pops up later on in a FO leadership role. I Appreciate the dialogue.
Hi Johnfromnj-yes yes yes! Also don’t forget Kyle Harrison and Casey Schmitt! Cannot wait!
Meanwhile will Luciano be ready in 2024?
Wilmer the Thrillmer
Maybe late 2024. Injuries and 2020 have slowed his development.
Who is playing Giant’s IF?
GarryHarris, Crawford at SS, and Estrada at 2B, are the only 2 everyday guys. Villar will probably get the most time at 3B. But they have a lot of interchangeable parts. Flores can play any IF position. Wade will get platoon starts at 1B, Davis can play 1B and 3B.
Thanks. The OF seems improved on paper but the corner IF better have some unnoticed youth.
Villar is intriguing, and he’ll be 26. The Giants got a whole lot younger with the departures of Belt, Longo, and La Stella. Crawford, of course is the senior member, but still pays acceptable defense. Other than Flores, who’ll be 31, every other IF guy is 30 or younger.
Truly one of the most underrated players in all of sports. So even-keeled and reliable.