Cardinals Sign Brandon Crawford To 1-Year Deal



Cardinals News

JUPITER, Fla., February 27, 2024 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed free-agent shortstop and lifetime San Francisco Giants star Brandon Crawford to a one-year contract for 2024.

Crawford, 37, has been a three-time All-Star (2015, 2018 & 2021), four-time Rawlings Gold Glove recipient (2015, 2016, 2017 & 2021) and two-time World Series Champion (2012 & 2014) over his 13-year Major League career with the Giants. 

“We’re excited to be adding a player with the winning credentials and pedigree of a Brandon Crawford,” stated Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “He is someone that will provide us with valuable depth and experience on the infield, and can also be a great resource for our younger players, such as Masyn Winn.”

The northern California native has compiled a .250/.319/.396 slash line with 146 home runs and 744 RBI in his 1,655 games played.  He is just two seasons removed from an MVP caliber campaign in 2021 when he batted .298 with a career-high 24 home runs and 90 RBI – finishing 4th in National League MVP voting.

The left-handed hitting Crawford has appeared in 43 career postseason games, including the 2012 and 2014 World Series when the Giants were crowned champions. 

Crawford has made 12-consecutive Opening Day starts for the Giants at shortstop (2012-2023), and he ranks 5th all-time in their franchise history for games played (1,655) – the most among active MLB shortstops.  His 480 career extra base hits rank 4th among San Francisco-era Giants, and he holds the Oracle Park record for career triples with 28.

Despite playing in his fewest (94) full-season games last season, since his rookie season of 2011, Crawford’s 43.0 pct. Statcast hard-hit rate was the 2nd-best of his career, trailing only his 43.3 mark in 2021.  The 6-1, 220-pound Crawford batted .329 (23-for-70) with runners in scoring position last season, driving in 33 of his 38 runs.

Crawford, who was selected by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2008 MLB draft out of UCLA, was teammates with both Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt on the Gold Medal winning Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The Cardinals designated infielder Buddy Kennedy for assignment to make room for Crawford on their 40-player roster.

— STL —

It’s a low risk signing for the Cardinals and they can eat the money once Tommy Edman is healthy and if/when Winn is ready for an everyday role as shortstop.

The team needed to make a move because, outside of Edman, there was not a backup at short.

The Cardinals will be paying $2M for Crawford in 2024 (salary matrix updated).

Crawford has been trending downward for a couple of years, but there is upside to the signing. Winn will have an experienced mentor who has won 4 gold gloves. Crawford has also battled a few lower body injuries over the last 2 years, so maybe he’ll come in a little healthier. Above all, there is a capable guy that can give Winn and Edman a break at shortstop.

The issue is the bench for the Cardinals, which is loaded with left handed hitters – Matt Carpenter, Alec Burleson, Brendan Donovan, and Nolan Gorman are all lefties. The exceptions are Dylan Carlson, who is a switch hitter, and Ivan Herrera, who won’t be used often as a pinch hitter.

As for Kennedy, he was expendable. I’m willing to guess the Cardinals threw his name in a hat along with those of Jose Fermin and Jared Young to see who would be designated for assignment to make room.

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