San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford has had quite the November.
He took home his first Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger last week — the last Giant to do this in a single season was Barry Bonds in 1997 — and on Tuesday signed a six-year, $75 million contract, no-trade clause included.
It was a logical next step for Crawford, who deserved every bit of honor he’s received this offseason. His career with the Giants is on the up and up; his home run count doubled from last year and his RBIs are consistently on the rise. His work with bench coach Ron Wotus showed this year as his error count slipped dramatically from 21 in 2014 to just 13 this year, a career low:
“I want to strive to get better. I think I’ve been doing that every year since I’ve been up, and I want to keep doing that.”
Crawford, flanked by his general manager Bobby Evans, manager Bruce Bochy and President of Baseball Operations Brian Sabean at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, said that no-trade clause sealed the deal:
“That was probably one of the biggest parts of the contract, for me, just knowing that I’m going to be with the Giants for the next six years and, like I said, there’s no where else I’d rather be. So just that sense of security that I’m gonna be here, and my family is going to be here in the Bay Area was a huge part of that contract.”
Crawford turns 29 in January, and grew up a Giants fan. He was drafted in 2008 to play for his home team out of UCLA in the fourth round. He got the call up in 2011 and hasn’t gone back, flashing his tricky glove and a consistently-improved bat year by year.
Now, he’ll be a Giant at least through 2021, and he wouldn’t have it any other way:
“Growing up a Giants fan, I thought it was a dream come true just to get drafted by this organization. And then to have the opportunity to play in the big leagues and win a couple World Series during that time, I really didn’t think it could get a whole lot better, but I think that made the decision pretty easy to stay. And obviously to get to this point with the six-year contract with this organization is obviously exciting for me and my family.”
Crawford anchors the Giants’ core home-grown infield. Second baseman Joe Panik, Rookie of the Year-nominated third baseman Matt Duffy, fellow Brandon, Belt, along with fellow Silver Slugger Buster Posey all rose through the Giants system and, together, will hold the diamond down in 2016. Said Crawford:
“I was just talking to Buster about that yesterday. We’re excited we’re gonna be playing together for the next six years at least. That’ll make it ten years playing together in the big leagues for both of us and that’s exciting to play with a player like him for that long.”
Evans said of his infield’s ability to adapt and grow:
“This game is built for athletes and there’s a grind involved and these guys are hungry to be here so they’re willing to make a transition to a position they’re not familiar with so they can just be here and they’ve obviously done a great job at it.”
The 2015 offseason was Crawford’s second year of arbitration eligibility, which is a non-issue now at a reasonable cost for the Giants. He should get about $6 million next season, which keeps the possibility of a splashy free agent signing possible, at least, by the Giants’ historically frugal standards.
Belt is also in his second year of arbitration eligibility, so the presumed next step is that the Giants lock him down to a longer contract as well.
So, the Giants will be seeing their John Stamos, clubhouse DJ, All-Star shortstop for a few more years, said Bochy:
“It’s always a good day when you sign your shortstop who made the all start team and got a gold glove and silver slugger. It’s nice to have that sense of comfort to hav ea guy like Brandon…I just think he was primed to have a breakout year offensively… The guy’s a winner. He prepares like a winner, performs like a winner…I know the players are gonna be happy, they have their DJ here for the next six years.”
A group of minor leaguers were at AT&T Park for conditioning camp and watched Crawford’s press conference. Crawford wanted to address them:
“I’ll be here for the next six years so I’m planning on at least three more World Series rings.”
He smiled and pointed to the giant ring on his hand:
“So come on up here and get one of these things.”