BREAKING: Coυld this be the eɴd of the liɴe for SF Giants legend Braɴdon Crawford?

The SF Giants decided to part ways with veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford in the winter, ending his 13-year stint with the club. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on a one-year, $2 million pact, but is off to a rough start. Could it be the end of the line for Crawford?

The optics of moving on from Crawford were not great. There is no doubt about that. The veteran shortstop had given everything he could to the Giants organization, so it was frustrating that his tenure ended on a sour note with the belief that he was not wanted back by the front office.

St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres

Instead, the Giants signed Nick Ahmed to a minor league deal. It was a similar deal that they offered to Crawford as well, but he was seeking a guaranteed deal. At this stage in their respective careers, Crawford and Ahmed are not too dissimilar in that they are glove-first shortstops who do not offer much with the bat.

Perhaps, age was a factor in this decision. The defensive metrics were mixed, but Crawford still posted +6 Outs Above Average (OAA) at shortstop in 2023. He may have lost a step on defense, but he was still a solid glove at a premium position.

On the other hand, Ahmed also tallied +6 OAA at shortstop in 2023. Ahmed is in his age-34 season, whereas Crawford is in the midst of his age-37 season. There just are not a lot of shortstops who excel at that age. Though, Ahmed is still finding a way to help the club in the early going.

The Cardinals brought in Crawford as a utility player and to serve as a mentor to top infield prospect Masyn Winn.

Brandon Crawford put on injured list by San Francisco Giants with strained  forearm - Newsday

Crawford is off to a rough start with St. Louis, recording just two hits in 19 at-bats so far. It is early and there is still plenty of time for him to turn it around. However, this continues a trend of below-average offensive production that dates back to the start of the 2022 season. He has struggled to the tune of a .618 OPS during that time.

The left-handed bat slashed .194/.273/.314 (63 OPS+) with seven home runs, 38 RBI, and 31 runs in 320 plate appearances in 2023. It bears mentioning that he did miss a lot of time due to a nagging hamstring injury, so that could have affected his performance.

At the very least, he is still capable with the glove at shortstop. That could hold value to a team in need of a late-inning, defensive replacement. Winn’s defense grades out favorably, so there might not be too many opportunities for that.

At some point, the Cardinals will have to weigh if they can get better value out of Crawford’s roster spot. The veteran shortstop is a decorated player, so the Cardinals will see if he can turn it around. If not, they may have to make a tough decision.

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