The Giants announced that shortstop Brandon Crawford has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 17, with left knee inflammation. Infielder David Villar was recalled in a corresponding move. Additionally, Bryce Johnson was returned to Sacramento after serving as the club’s “27th man” yesterday.
Crawford, 36, has been dealing with left knee issues on and off for over a year now. He twice went on the injured list due to that knee last summer and was shut down in Spring Training this year as well. Whether it’s due to the lingering knee problems or not, his offensive production has been sliding of late. He was above-average at the plate in 2020 and 2021 but hit .231/.308/.344 last year and is down to .207/.285/.333 here in 2023. His grades from advanced defensive metrics are also at a low ebb this year compared to previous seasons.
Middle infield already stood out as an area for the club to target at the deadline, something that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi recently admitted after Thairo Estrada landed on the injured list due to a hand fracture. It doesn’t seem as though Crawford is in line for an extended absence, since he was hopeful of avoiding the injured list as recently as yesterday, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Since the move is retroactive, he could potentially return in just over a week. But with the middle infield already being a target area and Crawford’s pesky knee issues cropping back up again, it could perhaps only increase the club’s desire to made an addition. MLBTR’s Anthony Franco recently highlighted some potential names the club could look to bring aboard, though it’s possible the guys on that list capable of playing some shortstop might become higher priorities.
In the meantime, the club figures to use some combination of Villar, Casey Schmitt and Brett Wisely to cover the middle infield, though none of that trio is hitting much this year. Villar has slashed .159/.244/.345 while Schmitt has a line of .224/.269/.318 and Wisely is at .198/.241/.307. The Giants are 54-41 and currently hold the top Wild Card spot in the National League, in addition to being just one game back of the Dodgers in the West division. The trade deadline is August 1.