If Brandon Crawford and the Giants are working on an extension, they're taking the long way about it. At the very least, though, they're all going to avoid arbitration. Crawford asked for $3.95 million, the Giants offered $2.4 million, and the two sides settled right in the middle for a one-year, $3.175 million.
The MLB Trade rumors estimate had Crawford at $2.5 million, which seemed a little low. Not because I know enough to quibble with the research that Matt Swartz had done or the database he's collected, but because, hey, isn't that Crawford guy kind of good/important? Perhaps the defense-valuing era in which we live is jimmying the numbers. Or maybe the Giants are trying to haggle at the bazaar of life with an open wallet, and the wallet is stuffed with dollar bills that Jon Lester didn't take.
According to FanGraphs, Crawford was worth about $15 million last year. While I'm not wild about WAR/$ calculations, it still gives you an idea that he's worth much more than $3 million and change, with "change" defined as a salary that would make me blog happily for the Dodgers full-time. The same dynamic applies:
- Crawford is under contract for the next three years
- Crawford will be underpaid for the next three years
- It makes sense for both sides to give a little, get a little in extension talks
That is, it makes sense for the Giants to bump up the salary for the next three years in exchange for a year of free agency and possibly an option after that. Crawford could take his chances and hit the market as a 30-year-old, hoping that his bat develops enough or his glove stays solid enough to get a much bigger payday, but he just doesn't seem like the kind of player who will get that deal with hella zeros after it. Not at 30. Not if he doesn't surprise us with extra power or on-base skills.
The worst-case scenario: Crawford is still around for three more years. That's pretty cool. For years the Giants were futzing around with over-30 shortstops because they had to, and while that worked out well for almost everyone not named Cliff Lee, it's still nice to have a franchise shortstop for the long term.
An extra year or two would be cool, though. An extra year or two would be cool.