Why the SF Giants decided not to re-sign Brandon Crawford this winter

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants / Brandon Vallance/GettyImages

It was time to move on. Longtime shortstop Brandon Crawford's 13-year run with the SF Giants officially came to an end on Monday as it was announced that he had signed a deal to join the St. Louis Cardinals. The move reiterates the team's plan to hand the reins at shortstop to Marco Luciano.

Why the SF Giants decided not to re-sign Brandon Crawford this winter

The Giants hinted all offseason that a reunion with Crawford was unlikely. However, that did not ease the pain for Giants fans, many of whom had grown up watching his stellar defense in the field.

This season is beginning to feel a lot like the 2008 campaign. In 2007, the Giants officially ended Barry Bonds' 15-year run with the club. The following year was very much a season of transition. The team wanted a new face for the organization and felt that players like Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Barry Zito could pave the way.

Of course, Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner would later form the battery that baseball knew during the Giants championship run.

This upcoming season feels a lot like that. The front office has indicated that they plan to compete, but it is hard to have confidence with that given that the starting rotation will be the youngest in years.

The Giants had plenty of opportunities to augment and fortify the rotation through free agency. However, they followed a different path as they added potential upside with Robbie Ray and a fascinating, yet unproven, experiment with Jordan Hicks.

The Giants are going young with the lineup as well. They could feature an Opening Day lineup with four players under 30 years of age including Thairo Estrada, Patrick Bailey, Jung Hoo Lee, and Luciano.

They hope that Luciano is ready for the challenge and can have just some of the success that Crawford had on the baseball field. They brought in a glove-first shortstop in Nick Ahmed on a minor league deal.

The Giants could have brought back Crawford if they wanted a glove-first shortstop. However, would that have been fair to Luciano? Crawford does not intentionally cast a long shadow, but he is a fan favorite and the best shortstop in franchise history. Would it have been fair to Luciano and his development if the clamor for Crawford grew louder as soon as the infield prospect slumped at the plate or made an error in the field?

In adding Ahmed, there is no question about who the everyday shortstop is. He has no ties to the organization. If he makes the team, his role will be to serve as a glove-first backup, and perhaps, help mentor Luciano.

So, the Giants and Crawford have officially parted ways. Crawford accomplished just about everything under the sun at Oracle Park and experienced the type of success that few have experienced on the baseball field. There was nothing left to accomplish.

It will be tough to see him play in a Cardinals uniform. He represents the last remnant of the championship core. However, the championship run is in the past. The Giants are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the 2014 title this year. It is time for the organization to start focusing on the future. And, the Giants hope that Luciano is a big part of that. Unfortunately, it comes with some tough break ups as well.