Giants’ mistake of letting Brandon Crawford go is now looming large

Seeing Marco Luciano's spring performance raises red flags about the Giants' decision to part with Brandon Crawford.

San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford
San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
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Nick Ahmed may end up being the San Francisco Giants Opening Day shortstop, and there's something deeply troubling about that.

Ahmed was signed to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training earlier this year. According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, the former Arizona Diamondbacks infielder has overtaken Marco Luciano in the race to become the Giants Opening Day shortstop.

Ahmed has always been known for his glove, not his bat, but has certainly earned the praise he's receiving from the San Francisco coaching staff after posting a 1.937 OPS in Cactus League play this spring.

SF Giants’ mistake of letting Brandon Crawford go is now looming large

But with Ahmed having so much success while Luciano continues to struggle (.259 OPS) this spring, it's no wonder that San Francisco is leading toward choosing the veteran to take over at shortstop. But the Giants front office could have avoided all this mess had they just decided to re-sign Brandon Crawford instead.

But the Giants had no interest in retaining their beloved infielder, and Crawford recently agreed to terms with the St. Louis Cardinals on a deal that will likely be similar to the one Ahmed signed with San Francisco if he makes the roster.

Crawford picked a terrible time to have arguably the worst season of his career. The 36-year-old appeared in less than 100 games for the first time in his career and hit just .194/.273/.314. Crawford's batting average, on-base percentage, hits, and RBI in 2023 were all career lows over the course of a 162-game season.

But one would think that Crawford would have built up enough goodwill during his Giants' tenure to remain with the only organization he'd ever known. It's not as if Ahmed's 2023 performance (.560 OPS) was a ringing endorsement for his candidacy to replace Crawford at shortstop.

Crawford told The Athletic (subscription required), "The bottom line is I wanted to come back to the Giants. That was obviously the ideal situation for me." But Crawford was not wanted back in San Francisco, and instead signed a deal with the Cardinals.

Should the Giants have re-signed Crawford? Fans can make the argument for and against. But seeing Luciano struggle so much that it's opened the door for Ahmed to be the team's starting shortstop is a tough pill for Giants fans to swallow.

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