Issue: The Crawford conundrum
Analysis: The Giants’ defensive struggles continue in a big and disturbing way, and while it’s tempting to say that shortstop Brandon Crawford is emblematic of the issue, he’s not.
His particular situation is so absolutely confounding, it’s not emblematic of anything other than baseball being impossible to figure, no matter how much you think you know about it.
Crawford, in terms of pure talent, might be the most gifted defender in the entire Giants organization. He’s certainly the most gifted defender on the big-league roster — though Brandon Belt, who has recently saved Crawford’s rapidly sinking fielding percentage with a series of sick picks at first base, is a close second.
So what on earth happened to the guy? And what on earth can the Giants do to get him back to being the slick-fielding stud he appeared to be while scuffling with the stick last season?
Former All-Star shortstop and current San Francisco coach Shawon Dunston has long said Crawford is destined to win multiple Gold Gloves, and Dunston on Tuesday told me he’s still confident it will happen.
But Crawford’s confidence is clearly shot, and the only logical solution right now is to back him out of the lineup. In fact, it’s time to back him out of the big leagues.
Get him away from the spotlight, away from the constant media attention paid to his struggles. Send him to Triple-A for a couple of weeks of nothing but the type of pressure- and stress-free work that often restores a struggling youngster’s confidence.
Sounds like a logical solution, right? One problem.
Who plays shortstop for the Giants? Got any confidence in anyone else?
Joaquin Arias’ injury came at the worst possible time.