San Francisco Giants Extend Brandon Crawford for Six Years and $75 Million
The Giants signed SS Brandon Crawford to a six year extension for a total of $75M. The contract buys out Crawford’s first four free agent seasons and provides him with a full no-trade for the life of the contract.
The deal strikes me as a major home town discount by a player who wants to stay in the Bay Area where he grew up with the organization that drafted him. The contract is particularly a bargain for the Giants if Crawford’s power surge in 2015 wasn’t a one-year fluke season. A no-trade clause has value and is part of the reason why Crawford’s deal isn’t bigger. However, Crawford clearly would have made a lot more if he had become a free agent, at least so long as he didn’t have a major injury first.
Crawford’s contract is a good example of just how loyal some modern ballplayers can be. If players are treated well by their organizations, the salaries in the game are now so high that players often take less money than they’d get as free agents in order to stay on a team where they are happy/comfortable. Of course, after about the first $50 million, the security of a long-term guarantee is a lot more enticing than the risk of even a much bigger pay-out that one might never see due to injury. Just ask Mike Trout.
I had a disagreement with an in-law, who’s a Cubs fan, some months back regarding whether it was appropriate for the Cubs to keep Kris Bryant in the minors just long enough to hold onto his contract rights for one more season, when he was obviously ready and deserving of starting the 2015 season in the majors. He absolutely felt that the Cubs made the right move, particularly given the fact that Bryant is represented by Scott Boras, who isn’t known for giving teams a home-town discount.
I’m not so sure. Boras is an attorney who at the end of the day will do what his client asks him to do. Boras doesn’t give out many home-town discounts, because the players who retain his services are generally out to get the biggest contracts they can possibly get.
Anyway, I’m old school in the sense that I still agree with the philosophy that when a prospect is clearly ready to be promoted to the majors, he should get promoted to the majors so he can start his career and begin making some real money. I will admit that this is less of an issue with a former bonus baby like Bryant.
I wonder though whether teams aren’t hurting themselves in the long run by taking the kind of action the Cubs took with Bryant. Management didn’t even have the decency to be honest about the real reason why they didn’t promote him either last September or for opening day this year. If I were Bryant and Boras, I sure wouldn’t forget how the Cubs treated him.
At this point in time, there’s no way of knowing what Bryant will do when he gets close to free agency. If the Cubs win three world series in the next six seasons, as the Giants have done, Bryant may decide he wants to stay in Chicago badly enough to give the Cubs a discount. However, if Bryant becomes a free agent at the first opportunity or ends up insisting on a $300M contract to remain a Cub, I sure won’t be surprised.