San Francisco Giants veteran Brandon Crawford is arguably the greatest shortstop in franchise history, but the arrival of star free agent Carlos Correa presents a different challenge for the 35-year-old.
The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly reports that Crawford was informed he will be switching positions this offseason and Correa, who signed a 13-year, $350 million deal on Tuesday, will be San Francisco's everyday shortstop.
Per Baggarly, Crawford received a phone call from team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler "less than 15 minutes" after news broke of Correa's signing. Prior to that, there were no discussions of the four-time Gold Glove winner switching positions.
Despite his surprise, Crawford seemed to take the news in stride in a text to Baggarly:
"With the signing of a player as good as Carlos, our team definitely got much better. He's been one of the better players in the league for years, and it's obviously exciting to get a player of his caliber to San Francisco. That being said, he is a shortstop and since the signing the other day, I've been told that that's where he'll stay, so that puts me in a much different situation than I've ever been faced with in professional baseball. So, the rest of this off-season, spring training, and during the season, I will be working my hardest to be the best I can be at a different position and help us get back to the postseason."
While Crawford is likely better suited to moving to second or third base to facilitate the addition of Correa, Baggarly wrote that Crawford "declined to address what his role could be or what position would represent the easiest transition, saying he has been given a rough outline but conversations are still in the beginning stages."
Crawford has spent his entire 12-year major league career with the Giants. He's a three-time All-Star and helped lead San Francisco to two World Series titles in 2012 and 2014. His 1,525 games exclusively at shortstop trails only Derek Jeter (2,674), Luis Aparicio (2,581), Ozzie Smith (2,511), Elvis Andrus (1,906) and J.J. Hardy (1,544).
The 2023 season is the final year on Crawford's contract, and Baggarly noted that there's a chance he considers retirement next winter.
The left-handed hitter is coming off a down year in 2022, hitting .231 with nine homers and 52 RBI. He hopes to return to the 2021 form that saw him hit .298 with 24 home runs and 90 RBI to finish fourth in NL MVP voting.