SF Giants might need to rely on internal options at shortstop for 2024

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants may enter unusual territory this winter as Brandon Crawford's two-year, $32 million deal is set to expire. If Crawford decides to hang them up, how will the Giants fill the void at shortstop?

SF Giants might need to rely on internal options at shortstop for 2024

It has been a rough season for the longtime Giants shortstop. Crawford has struggled to the tune of a .202/.273/.318 line (63 wRC+) with six home runs, 35 RBI, and 28 runs in 280 plate appearances in 2023. His offensive decline is a continuation of last season in which he tallied a .652 OPS in 458 plate appearances.

Not only that, but Crawford's defense has taken a step back as well. That said, the defensive metrics are mixed as he has been worth -12 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and +5 Outs Above Average (OAA). The Giants might not have the 13-year veteran as the starting shortstop on Opening Day next season for the first time since 2012.

They have to be prepared for the transition to a new era. And, it is very possible that Giants fans have already seen who might take over at shortstop next season. Behind Crawford, Casey Schmitt has seen the most time at the position in 2023. His best position is still third base, but getting more reps at shortstop might be his easiest way onto next season's roster.

Of course, Marco Luciano could still help the Giants in 2023 after sustaining a hamstring strain last month. The top Giants infield prospect appeared briefly with the club earlier this season and flashed the power that has made him so well-regarded. Can he stay healthy and stick at shortstop? The Giants might need to rely on him for an extended period of time next season.

Schmitt and Luciano could very well enter next season with the inside track at shortstop. Tyler Fitzgerald could be in the mix as well. The free-agent class is extremely light at the position with no obvious upgrades. Amed Rosario might be the best player to be listed as a shortstop but he has seen more time at second base lately as his numbers declined at shortstop.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Nick Ahmed are some of the better glove-first options available, but signing either one would mean taking a hit in the lineup. Perhaps, they make an exception in either case, but the Giants do value offensive upside with any prospective addition.

It is possible that the Chicago White Sox decline Tim Anderson's $14 million team option, but Anderson is coming off of a terrible season in which he has posted a .573 OPS in 467 plate appearances. He does not appear to be an obvious upgrade to the internal options.

Of course, if the Giants do prioritize defense in free agency, they could decide to re-sign Paul DeJong. The veteran shortstop has struggled badly at the plate but continues to be a solid defensive presence. He might not receive much more than a minor-league deal this winter.

The free-agent class is light on top-of-the-market options at a premium position like shortstop. Unless the Giants swing a trade, their best bet might just be continuing the youth movement, and perhaps, complementing the roster with a veteran glove.