MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Seattle Mariners signed Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford to a $51 million, five-year contract on Friday ahead of the start of the regular season.
Crawford, 27, had agreed last month to a $4.85 million, one-year deal and would have been eligible for free agency after the 2024 season. He gets a $5 million signing bonus and $5 million salary this year, $10 million in each of the following three seasons and $11 million in 2026. He also gets a full no-trade provision.
“I love Seattle. I’ve loved it ever since I put on that jersey for the first time,” Crawford said before the season opener against the Twins. “I’ve really wanted to stay here ever since then. So I’m really happy for this opportunity.”
Crawford has been a standout defensive player since being acquired by the Mariners before the start of the 2019 season. He won a Gold Glove in 2020 and was a finalist for the award last season.
Since the start of the 2020 season, Crawford leads all American League shortstops in innings played at the position with 1,876. He has made just 15 errors in 843 chances during that span.
Crawford said he was at a low point with his career toward the end of his time in Philadelphia. After he arrived in Seattle, he received helpful guidance from veteran Dee Strange-Gordon to help start his turnaround.
“He took me under his wing and showed me how to really love baseball again,” Crawford said. “He showed me the passion for it again, and he just taught me how to have fun again.”
While his defense has been terrific since arriving in Seattle, Crawford also has improved significantly at the plate. He set career highs with a .273 batting average, nine homers, 54 RBIs and a .715 OPS last year. He also played in 160 games after never playing more than 93 games in a season.
“I don’t know if we have a more competitive player. When the stakes rise he has a knack for kind of rising with it and that was never more apparent than toward the end of last season,” Seattle President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto said.
“The contributing factors to acquiring J.P. were all about his physical skills, what we were scouting from afar and what we knew about the player dating back to high school. What we’ve learned since is why we’re doing this extension.”
Crawford hit in the leadoff spot most of last season but is likely shifting further down in the batting order this season after Seattle acquired Adam Frazier in the offseason. He was batting eighth in the opener against Minnesota.
Even before talks of the contract started, Crawford receive reassurance from Dipoto and the front office about being in their future plans as the team’s shortstop after Seattle opted not to pursue any of the big free agents at that position in the offseason.
“It says a lot about trust and I want to think you for trusting me,” Crawford said. “This is my team. It is permanently now and I’m ready to lead these guys.”
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