Cardinals To Sign Brandon Crawford

The St. Louis Cardinals are set to sign shortstop Brandon Crawford, according to reports. The financial details of the contract are not yet known, pending a physical. Crawford, a 13-year veteran, will be taking on a depth role for the first time in his career.


Crawford's Accomplishments and Recent Performance

Brandon Crawford, who has been a starting shortstop since 2011, had an excellent run with the San Francisco Giants. He helped the team win World Series titles in 2012 and 2014. Crawford was known for his exceptional defense, winning three consecutive Gold Glove awards from 2015 to 2017. He also improved as a hitter in his late 20s, earning a Silver Slugger award in 2015.

However, Crawford's offensive production has declined in recent years. He struggled in the 2022 and 2023 seasons, hitting .231 and .194 respectively. Injuries have also affected his performance, with multiple IL stints related to various body parts. As he enters his age-37 season, it is unlikely that the Cardinals will rely on Crawford for significant offensive contributions.

Crawford's Defensive Abilities

While Crawford's offensive numbers have declined, his defensive abilities are still debated. Statcast considers him a solid defender, giving him above-average marks every season since 2015. However, Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) paints a less favorable picture, grading him as a below-average defender for the past two years. Among shortstops, only Tim Anderson and Amed Rosario fared worse by DRS estimates.

In his new role with the Cardinals, Crawford will likely be expected to provide at least passable defense. The team plans to have rookie Masyn Winn as their primary shortstop, and Crawford's signing allows manager Oli Marmol to keep Tommy Edman in the outfield. It also provides security in case Edman is not available due to injury.

Impact on Cardinals and Giants

With Crawford's signing, the Cardinals address their need for a backup shortstop. The Giants, on the other hand, bid farewell to a key player in their recent history. They will be turning shortstop duties over to top prospect Marco Luciano and have signed Nick Ahmed as a veteran depth option. Crawford returned from the injured list on the final day of last season to receive a proper send-off from the San Francisco fanbase.

The financial impact of the Crawford signing on the Cardinals is projected to be minimal, adding only a couple million dollars to their payroll. Overall, the move provides depth and security for the Cardinals and marks a significant change for the Giants as they transition to younger players in key positions.