SF Giants 2022 Opening Day Shortstop
3. Brandon Crawford
It may seem unlikely, but it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Crawford spends at least one more year in San Francisco. Crawford had a semi-resurgent year in 2020, and if he can build upon that performance in 2021 the Giants may feel it would be worthwhile to bring back the career-long Giant. Furthermore, with Luciano likely still a year or two away from his MLB debut, signing Crawford to a one or two-year bridge deal could make a lot of sense.
In 2020, he hit .256/.326/.465 which was an improvement upon his numbers in 2017, 2018, and 2019 albeit in a shortened season. He also hit 8 home runs and had 28 RBI last season, showing he can still be a power threat every now and then. Defensively, while he may not be perennial Gold Glove winner Brandon Crawford, he is still truly gifted with the mitt and his arm continues to be one of the best in MLB.
If Crawford mimicked his 2020 success for an entire 162-game season, the Giants would probably hesitate to let him walk without acquiring a substantial upgrade. If he has an even better season, the team might be willing to offer him a qualifying offer, which would ensure they acquired draft capital if he signed elsewhere or re-signed him on a one-year deal. Since Crawford is born and raised in the Bay Area, he also would likely be open to a reunion.
Still, given Crawford’s age and injury history, a regression to his 2018-19 form seems most likely. In that scenario, it’s hard to see the franchise not looking elsewhere. So the stars will have to align perfectly, but if they do, don’t rule out Brandon Crawford returning to Oracle Park to start at shortstop on Opening Day in 2022.