MINNEAPOLIS (AP)The Seattle Mariners signed Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford to a 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.

”J.P. brings excellent defense at a critical position, in addition to solid on-base skills and a penchant for delivering in the big moment.” Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto said. ”He’s an incredibly competitive player who has become an integral part of our team, both on the field and in the clubhouse.”

Crawford has been a standout defensive player since being acquired by the Mariners before the start of the 2019 season. He won the 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.

But Crawford 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.

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.

”Seattle is a special place for me, and I can’t wait to be a part of the team that brings a championship here,” Crawford said. ”This place is going to be nuts when we do it. We all saw that last year. I’ve said before that I’m here to win, and we’re going to win for a long time.”

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