Brandon Crawford has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Over the course of a week he has won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and signed a six-year, $75 million contract extension.
The contract, announced on Tuesday, will cover the two remaining years of Crawford's arbitration period as well as the first four years of his free agency and, possibly, could ensure that the bay area native spends the entirety of his professional career in a Giants uniform.
The breakdown of this contract has Crawford earning $6 million and $8.2 million over the 2016-2017 seasons respectively with the first four years of his free agency bringing him $15.2 million a year. This works out to be a great deal for Crawford as well as the Giants who will get two more years at a reasonable arbitration rate but have locked Crawford in to a salary that will surely be lower than the 2018 qualifying offer total and significantly lower than other shortstops in the league. In 2018, when Crawford will begin the $15.2 million per year stretch of his contract, there are already three shortstops contracted at higher rates including Troy Tulowitzki at $20 million and Elvis Andrus at $22 million meaning that, if Crawford posts good numbers over the next two seasons, the Giants potentially saved $3-4 million a year by signing early. As they say, it's all in the timing.
The 2008 fourth round pick had an impressive 2015 campaign, as is evident by his first All Star appearance and his two awards this off season. Ranking in the top five in almost every defensive category, including second in dWar (2.9) and dropping his error count by 38% from 2014 has proven that Crawford is an above average defensive player. Defense aside, he was also good for 36 runs above average (RAA) in the batter box which was more than double his 2014 campaign. While Crawford is not an elite player he is definetly an above average player showing signs of growth and potential elite seasons which is worthy of a long term commitment from a team that likes to reward thir players and remain loyal to them.
It is worth noting that this contract does include a no-trade clause and does not include any option years meaning Crawford will be a free agent at the age of 34.