Crawford 'really happy' with 2-yr extension

'I never really thought about playing anywhere else,' said shortstop, 34

August 14th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- 's dream run with his hometown Giants will continue for at least two more seasons.

The Giants announced Friday that they’ve signed Crawford to a two-year, $32 million contract extension that will keep the 34-year-old veteran in San Francisco through the 2023 season.

“I’m really happy, really excited,” Crawford said. “My family is obviously very happy. This is the only organization we’ve ever known. They’ve always taken such good care of me and my family. We’re just happy to know that we’re going to be here for a couple more years.”

Crawford was a few months away from testing free agency for the first time in his career, but he chose to forgo the chance to hit the open market alongside a star-studded class of shortstops in order to stay with the Giants, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2008 Draft out of UCLA.

Since debuting in 2011, Crawford has established himself as a foundational piece for the Giants, developing into a three-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and a two-time World Series champion. Now in his 11th season in the Majors, Crawford is enjoying his best campaign to date, batting .296 with a .904 OPS and 19 home runs over 95 games to help vault the Giants to the top of the National League West standings.

“I think you see it on a day in, day out basis, how important he’s been to our team,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said. “In the lineup, out on the field. Not just his own defense, but how he elevates the entire infield with his consistency and excellent play. It’s hard to imagine anybody else playing shortstop for the San Francisco Giants.”

It’s the second extension Crawford has signed with the Giants, who also inked him to a six-year, $75 million deal following the 2015 season. He will earn a base salary of $16 million in 2022 and 2023, setting him up to potentially spend his entire career with the Giants, the team he grew up rooting for throughout his childhood in the Bay Area.

“As a kid, I always dreamed about wearing the Giants uniform,” Crawford said. “I never really thought about playing anywhere else. There are definitely times where it’s hard to believe that I’ve lasted this long here with the Giants. I’m just excited to add a couple more years.”

Zaidi joked that talks between the Giants and Crawford’s agent, Joel Wolfe of Wasserman, began to pick up last month when Crawford finally agreed to let Zaidi join his fantasy football league “after two years of snubs.” An extension felt unlikely as recently as two years ago, when Crawford hit only .228 with a .654 OPS over 147 games, but the down year ultimately motivated him to make some changes to prove that he hadn’t yet entered a period of irreversible decline.

After Gabe Kapler succeeded Bruce Bochy as the Giants’ manager following the 2019 season, Crawford worked with the club’s new hitting coaches to make some swing changes that ultimately spurred his resurgent campaign in 2021. He’s on pace to set career highs in virtually every major offensive category, which should help him garner NL MVP consideration this year.

“In my time in baseball, I’ve seen a lot of great individual seasons with different organizations I’ve been with,” Zaidi said. “The season Craw’s had this year, I’ve never seen a player have more of an impact on a team’s success than what he’s done.”

The revitalization of veterans like Crawford has been central to the Giants’ success this year, so much so that several players have started wearing “Let The Old Guys Play” T-shirts during batting practice. Zaidi noted that they might have to amend the phrase to “Get The Old Guys Paid,” especially since the Giants are expected to have interest in negotiating new deals with other team leaders like Buster Posey, Kris Bryant and Kevin Gausman.

“The big story for us has been how successful this team already has been and wanting to keep this group together,” Zaidi said. “They’ve accomplished a lot, and we’re going to continue to have these conversations. Obviously, Craw was a huge part of that plan, and we’re thrilled to have him. Other conversations will continue. We’ll just have to see how those play out.”