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Brandon Crawford says he was 'not wanted back' by Giants

Evan Webeck, Bay Area News Group on

Published in Baseball

Former San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said Friday in an interview with The Athletic that he expressed a desire to re-sign, a willingness to play multiple positions and an interest in mentoring Marco Luciano, but that he was rebuffed by team president Farhan Zaidi.

“The bottom line is I was not wanted back by the one person whose (opinion) matters,” Crawford, who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, told Andrew Baggarly. “So I went with a team that gave me a major league contract. The Cardinals have a long history and tradition. I’ve admired and respected the way the Cardinals have played throughout my career and the way the organization has been run.

“But the bottom line is I wanted to come back to the Giants. That was obviously the ideal situation for me.”

After Crawford’s resurgent 2021, Zaidi rewarded him with a two-year contract extension. But in between frequent trips to the injured list, Crawford, 37, batted .216/.293/.332 over the past two seasons, an OPS of .626, or 24% below the ballpark-adjusted league average.

On the final day of the regular season, the Giants substituted Luciano in for the final inning, and Crawford walked off the field to a standing ovation. However, he left open the possibility of playing another season, in San Francisco or elsewhere.

In a November face-to-face meeting offsite from the general mangers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Crawford said he told Zaidi that he was willing to take a step back into a reserve role.

“I had no playing time expectations,” Crawford said. “Just help out and be a veteran mentor type for Luciano, Casey Schmitt, (Tyler) Fitzgerald, continue being that guy for Thairo (Estrada), whoever else I could help out in that capacity. That’s what I came to him with.”

 

According to Crawford, however, Zaidi wasn’t receptive to the idea.

After the Cardinals made their offer, Crawford said he gave the Giants the opportunity to match.

“I was told I could earn the last spot on the roster like anyone else could as a non-roster invitee,” Crawford said. “That was the nail in the coffin.”

Ultimately, Zaidi told The Athletic, Crawford was just too large of a figure in the organization to credibly take on such a reduced role.

“The main thing we’ve discussed internally was the challenge of the fit because his status in the organization would actually make this supportive, mentorship role challenging for him, even with the best of intentions,” Zaidi said. “I actually don’t question his intent or that he would do everything he could to mentor our young players and help bring them along. I just think we expect our younger players will have their ups and downs, as young players do, and having the greatest shortstop in franchise history on the bench … it was just going to create a dynamic where it was going to be harder for our young players to play with a margin of error.”


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