There hasn’t been much speculation around SF Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, but it seems like the Yankees could see him as a trade target.
Most SF Giants fans probably have not considered the possibility of trading Brandon Crawford for some time. Regardless of their personal thoughts on him as a player, the fact is, he was aging, underperforming, well paid, and had a full no-trade clause. However, after a resurgent 2020 campaign, Scott Thompson of Yahoo Sports recently wrote about the pros and cons of the Yankees trading for the Giants shortstop.
While it remains somewhat unlikely, given Crawford’s contract situation, the Giants could pay down a large portion of his $15 million salary in 2021 to make it more enticing. If the Giants look to add another everyday-caliber shortstop and the writing is on the wall, he may be willing to waive his no-trade clause to continue playing everyday.
With Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu a free-agent, and young Gleyber Torres struggling defensively at short, Thompson ponders whether they would consider adding a shortstop like Crawford to provide a competent lefthanded bat and sure up their team defense. Thompson lists as a con the potential return requested by the Giants, but given Crawford’s contract, the Yankees might not need to surrender much but a willingness to take on a certain amount of Crawford’s salary.
Since Giants president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi inherited Crawford onto the roster, he may already be more inclined to aggresively consider alternatives. This free-agent market is flush with intriguing free-agent shortstops like 25-year old Ha-Seong Kim, Andrelton Simmons, and Marcus Semien. Could Zaidi consider someone like Semien a perfect fit and be willing to part with Crawford? It seems plausible.
Even if an acquiring team were only willing to take on half of Crawford’s salary, the Giants would ultimately clear nearly $8 million, a significant chunk of whatever they would have to pay his replacement. The Yankees seem well situated to take on $8-$10 million of Crawford’s contract, especially if they lose out on LeMahieu.
The potential return is a bit harder to gauge, given the Giants impending roster crunch, a potential big-league piece like Tyler Wade or Miguel Andujar might not be as appealing as it once may have been. Of course, that assumes the Yankees are ready to move on from a big-league caliber player on top of paying Crawford. Instead, the sides would probably find one of the Yankees plethora of lower-minors international free-agent signings an amenable pairing for both organizations.
How the SF Giants handle the shortstop position is probably not on most fans’ minds. However, there are many younger options that could lead the front-office to consider moving away from Brandon Crawford. If they clearly plan on moving on, the Bay Area native may be willing to waive his no-trade clause to find another full-time job. If he does, he could very well end up in pinstripes.