It was reported Friday that the Seattle Mariners and 27-year-old shortstop J.P. Crawford agreed to terms on a five-year, $51 million contract extension, which will keep the Gold Glover in Seattle through the 2026 season, buying out his arbitration years, and two seasons of free agency. This contract could serve as the new benchmark for other young arbitration-eligible shortstops, including budding Brewers star Willy Adames.
The Seattle Mariners signed their young shortstop to a extension. The Brewers should do the same and extend Willy Adames.
Per reports, Crawford will have a $5 million salary for 2022, before jumping to $10 million from 2023-2025 and $11 million in the 2026 season. For comparison, Adames and the Brewers settled at $4.6 million for the 2022 season.
Adames is entering his age-26 season, and was originally under team-control through the 2025 season. However, there are key differences in the profiles of the shortstops. While Crawford is lauded for his defense, and slightly below average with his bat, Adames provides plus defense and a plus bat. While Crawford has a career 94 OPS+, Adames sits at 110. When looking at Defensive Runs above average (DEF), Adames has a career 15.3 DEF, Crawford has a career 21.3 DEF.
Fueled in part by the 2021 breakout, Adames has a 9.9 career fWAR, and Crawford a career 6.3 fWAR, in about 60 fewer games.
While Adames and Crawford are not identical players, there still is value in looking at the contract as a starting point for the team. The only guaranteed money the Brewers have for the 2023 season is from Christian Yelich and Freddy Peralta. With hearty raises to be expected for Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Josh Hader, as well as Devin Williams and Keston Hiura eligible for arbitration for the first time, locking Adames in to an extension would provide the Brewers with both financial security, and security in knowing they have a shortstop locked up for the future.
Given Adames’ better production with the bat, he might be able to get a slightly higher dollar figure than Crawford, but this is a good base to start talks with.
Adames is reportedly open to extension talks, given how many more years of team control he has, there certainly is not a rush, but it seems to be a match made in heaven. Adames seems to love Milwaukee, and Milwaukee sure loves him.
It would be in the best interest of the Brewers to extend Adames, locking in a key part of the core and extending the competitive window. Thanks to Jerry Dipoto and J.P Crawford, the team has a framework to start negotiating with and make sure the Brewers shortstop is locked in for the foreseeable future.