By Associated Press
Brandon Crawford has never imagined playing anywhere else than for his boyhood favorite team the Giants.
The All-Star shortstop is being rewarded for one of his best seasons yet, agreeing to a new two-year contract that takes him through the 2023 season and the probable conclusion of his career with San Francisco.
“This is the only organization we've ever known and they've always taken such good care of me and my family,” Crawford said in the dugout before having a night off from starting in the second game of a four-game weekend set with the Rockies. “We're just happy to know that we're going to be here for a couple more years.”
The Giants announced the $32 million deal Friday that will pay the 34-year-old shortstop $16 million in base salary in both 2022 and '23.
“I think you see it on a day in, day out basis how important he's been to our team in the lineup, out on the field, not just his own defense but how he elevates the entire infield with just his consistency and excellent play,” said Farhan Zaidi, Giants president of baseball operations. "It's hard to imagine anybody else playing shortstop for the San Francisco Giants."
Crawford is in the final season of a $75 million, six-year contract signed in November 2015. He is earning $15 million this season.
“I'm 34. Playing ‘til I’m 36 sounds pretty good to me,” he said.
Crawford's reliable play in the infield and his offense are big reasons the Giants have the best record in the majors and lead the talented NL West in a year they have surprised the reigning World Series champion Dodgers and San Diego.
Crawford is batting a career-best .296 with 19 home runs, 21 doubles, a triple and 69 RBIs. He earned his third All-Star selection this summer and is a three-time Gold Glove recipient.
This is his 11th season with San Francisco and Crawford was part of the 2012 and '14 World Series championship teams. He won Gold Gloves from 2015-17 and a Silver Slugger award in 2015.
He grew up in the Bay Area cheering for the Giants and became the franchise leader in games played at shortstop on June 8. He's appeared in 1,400 games with San Francisco, 11th on the franchise list. He could crack the Top 5 by the end of the contract, which would leave him trailing only Willie Mays, Mel Ott, Willie McCovey and Barry Bonds.
“As a kid I always dreamed of wearing the Giants uniform and never really thought about playing anywhere else,” Crawford said. “There are definitely times where it's hard to believe that I've lasted this long here with the Giants.”
Alongside fellow veterans Brandon Belt and Buster Posey, the Giants veterans have revived their careers during this successful year — and proven some people wrong in the process.
“I'm proud of all of us, being able to kind of bounce back from a few tough seasons and come back out here and perform the way we have, and I think a lot of that has to do with the coaching staff,” Crawford said.
“Whether it's giving us days off to keep us healthy or mechanical changes, approach changes that we've made over the last couple years. I'm happy for all of us and hopefully we can keep it going and win some more games.”