The SF Giants received some concerning news on Monday as it was announced that shortstop Brandon Crawford would be shut down for a week after experiencing knee discomfort according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. The veteran dealt with the same ailment last year, limiting him to just 118 games, which was his lowest total in a full season since 2012.
SF Giants News: Veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford battling knee discomfort
Crawford has been one of the more durable players over the past decade, but he is entering his age-36 season in 2023. Durability concerns do not typically improve with age. If he is able to ramp up baseball activities in a week, that will give him plenty of time to get ready for the season.
The longtime Giants shortstop is entering his 16th season in pro ball and veterans typically can get ready for the season with just a handful of games.
It does not sound serious, but if Crawford is not able to be ready in time for Opening Day, the question will shift to who will replace him as he recovers. San Francisco has a few internal options in Isan Díaz, Brett Wisely, and Thairo Estrada.
Giants general manager Pete Putila feels good about these options, but none of them are proven gloves at shortstop. More than likely, Estrada would fill in at shortstop as he has done for the past couple of years.
For Crawford, it is a tough break as he is looking to rebound after a very tough 2022 campaign. The left-handed bat slashed .231/.308/.344 (85 OPS+) with nine home runs, 52 RBI, and 50 runs in 458 plate appearances. This included an 8.5 percent walk rate against a 21.4 percent strikeout rate.
Despite his rough production at the plate, the 12-year veteran still graded out favorably on defense by recording +7 Outs Above Average. Defensive Runs Saved (-5) and Ultimate Zone Rating (-3.5) painted a different picture, but it did look like Crawford's glove got better as the season wore on.
The 36-year-old is entering the final year of a two-year, $36 million extension that he inked midway through the 2021 season. Crawford might be at the end of his career, but he can still help the Giants win this season when he is healthy.