Giants reward SS Crawford with new 2-year, $32 million deal

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO – 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.”

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.