Brandon Crawford

Crawford ‘shocked' by quiet market for Belt, MLB veterans

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There weren't many options on the MLB free-agent market this winter for two Giants franchise icons.

Both shortstop Brandon Crawford and first baseman Brandon Belt remained unsigned throughout the winter before the former signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals last week after not being able to work out a return to the Giants.

Belt, however, remains unsigned, which is a puzzling phenomenon for his longtime teammate and close friend.

Crawford joined Scott Braun, A.J. Pierzynski and Erik Kratz Wednesday on "Foul Territory," where he was asked about Belt's market --- or lack thereof --- this offseason.

"I was shocked to hear he hadn't heard a whole lot recently," Crawford said. "He's kind of in the same situation I was. Our thinking is we've had a great career, if nothing comes up then that makes sense and we call it and pretty happy and proud about what we did in our career, but his kids wanted him to play, so he's motivated to still go out there and play for them and I think he is looking for a job. I would love to see him keep playing, personally."

Crawford admitted the lack of interest in players of his and Belt's caliber this offseason is "weird" given the intangible leadership qualities players like Belt possess.

"Yeah, something's happening," Crawford added. "I don't know what the thought is there with teams and front offices that aren't signing some of these veteran guys that not only have the knowledge of how to play the game the right way and winning and bringing all that kind of stuff to a clubhouse, but also can still play baseball really well. So I don't know what the thought process is there, this offseason is especially weird when you look at some of the guys that are available, Belt being one of them. [Blake] Snell, [Jordan] Montgomery, these guys still aren't signed and that's weird to me."

Belt had a decent season in 2023, batting .254/.369/.490 with 19 home runs, 43 RBI and a well-above-average 136 OPS+ in 404 plate appearances with the Blue Jays after signing a one-year contract with Toronto last offseason.

Crawford, however, struggled last season. The longtime Giants shortstop batted just .194/.273/.314 with seven home runs, 38 RBI and a well-below-average 63 OPS+ in 320 plate appearances with San Francisco.

It remains to be seen where, and if, Belt will play again in 2024, but Crawford is confident both he and his fellow Brandon still have a lot to offer an MLB team.

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