Boston Red Sox Free Agent Grades: Sox get their guy in Trevor Story

Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox finally got their guy. After swinging and missing on many other big name free agent targets such as Freddie Freeman and Seiya Suzuki, Chaim Bloom and the front office decided to pony up and do whatever it took to land star shortstop Trevor Story.

That strategy appears to have paid off, as the Sox have reportedly reached a six year, $140 million deal with Story. This move shores up a huge hole in Boston’s infield (Story will most likely move to second base) while also giving Boston a proper replacement for the lost production from the bats of guys like Hunter Renfroe and Kyle Schwarber.

This is the move that Boston Red Sox fans have been waiting for their team to make all offseason long. They have generally lurked in the shadows while many of their competitors swung huge deals to massively improve their roster. It felt like Story or bust once guys like Freeman and Carlos Correa recently came off the board, and apparantly Bloom felt the same way.

Boston was a good team before adding Story, but in a loaded AL East division, good wasn’t going to be enough. Adding Story ensures they will have the proper firepower to go toe-to-toe with these top teams, and it drastically increases the outlook for the 2022 season. However, handing out long-term deals with lots of money involved can eventually come back to bite down the line, so let’s take an in-depth look at the deal before we settle in on a final grade for the deal.

The Boston Red Sox did what they had to do to land Trevor Story…but was it worth it?

It’s pretty clear that Story was not the Boston Red Sox preferred target once the MLB lockout concluded. They initially pursued Freeman and Suzuki pretty aggressively right out of the gate, and only went after Story once they signed elsewhere. Even if that’s the truth, that doesn’t take away from the fact that bringing Story onboard is an immediate win for the 2022 Red Sox squad.

As the Story-to-Boston rumors heated up in recent days, I took a look at Story’s potential fit with the team, and why pursuing him actually made a bit more sense then going after a guy like Freeman. Boston needed some help at second and first base, but with Bobby Dalbec coming on strong in the second half of the 2021 season, and Triston Casas on the verge of a major league callup, signing Freeman, while obviously enticing, wouldn’t have been a great positional fit.

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Story is by no means a seamless positional fit either, but he figures to slide right into second base for at least the upcoming season. Story let teams know he was open to a position switch, and with Xander Bogaerts currently manning shortstop, Story is presumably going to fill that hole for the time being. And depending on what happens with Bogaerts over the next few months, he could find himself back at shortstop before he knows it.

Bogaerts status is a key piece in this deal, and it gives Bloom and the front office some flexibility moving forward. Bogaerts can opt out of his deal after the 2022 season, and has made it clear he intends to do so.

The Sox could always extend him, but signing Story to a long-term deal seems to make that less likely of a possibility. In the event Bogaerts hits free agency, or gets traded beforehand, the team now has protected themselves by bringing Story onboard. Much of this will be determined over the next few months, and it figures to play a big piece in what Boston’s future looks like.

Trevor Story’s fit with the Boston Red Sox

For now, it’s important to look at this team with both Story and Bogaerts a part of it. As of right now, here’s a skeleton of what the Boston Red Sox lineup will look like this season:

  1. Kike Hernandez – RF
  2. Trevor Story – 2B
  3. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  4. J.D. Martinez – DH
  5. Rafael Devers – 3B
  6. Alex Verdugo – LF
  7. Bobby Dalbec – 1B
  8. Christian Vazquez – C
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. (?) – CF

The spots in the lineup obviously aren’t final, but for the most part that’s what things are looking like right now. Playing Bradley as your everyday center fielder seems like an iffy proposition, but right now that seems like their only choice. Christian Arroyo, who seems set for a utility role at this point, said he’d be willing to play in the outfield if Story were to be signed, and now that he has been, it might be worth giving him a shot in right or left field during Spring Training.

Story slides right into an extremely dangerous lineup. Pitchers are going to struggle finding guys to attack in this lineup, and the only real weakness is the back third. If Arroyo can actually earn an outfield spot, that figures to be less of an issue, but even then the rest of the lineup would be able to account for a potential lack of production from a guy like Bradley.

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Story goes from playing 81 of his games at the hitter friendly Coors Field to Fenway Park, a field that is perfectly suited for his swing. Story has struggled outside of the confines of Coors Field, which is a bit concerning, but he is an extreme pull hitter, and with the short left field at Fenway, Story is perfectly suited for Boston. His average may drop a bit, but he’s an easy candidate for 30+ homers this season.

In terms of the money involved with Story’s deal, Bloom did a really good job of not overspending on Story despite the serious uptick in interest he got once Correa signed with the Minnesota Twins. Story is set to make an average of $23.33 million per year, which is right in the ballpark of what he was expected to make while Correa was on the market. The fact they got him at this rate, even with all the competition they had for him, is pretty impressive.

Story is stil just 29 years old, so it’s not as if this deal is going to see him getting paid to do nothing by the end of it. He can also opt out after the fourth year of the deal, unless the Sox opt to tack on an extra year to the deal (which would then make it a seven year, $160 million deal). Again, it’s not an absurd rate of pay for a player who has had a very productive career to this point, making it an easier pill to swallow.


I wavered between a B+ or A- for quite some time because in truth, I am a fan of this deal. However, keeping an unbiased appraoch here is important, and there is some risk that comes attached to this deal. Story had one of his worst seasons in 2021, and there are concerns about his arm strength in the field. He’s only 29 years old, but could he already be declining?

Not to mention, the Sox clearly would have preferred to land different players, but ended up having to settle for Story. They also alienated their current shortstop in Bogaerts during the process to an extent, and bringing Story onboard makes an already difficult extension process that much more difficult. The trade off could end up becoming Story for Bogaerts; would that be worth it?

It’s tough to not get sidetracked by all the skepticism that comes with a long-term deal in the MLB, but for the present day Boston Red Sox team, this deal is a win. Story will join a devastating lineup immediately and fill a position of need right off the bat. Signing him helps them keep pace with the rest of their American League competitors for the time being.

The thing that really stands out to me is the money. This is not an outrageous deal by any stretch of the immagination. For reference, Corey Seager, who is really only a year and a half younger than Story while being fairly similar in terms of production, got a 10 year, $325 million deal from the Texas Rangers earlier this offseason. Give me the choice of both players and their contracts, and I’m taking Story every day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

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The aforementioned cons to this deal keep it from being an A-, but this is still a solid signing from Bloom and the Boston Red Sox. This is the first time Bloom has really opened his checkbook to bring in a star caliber player, and while Story may not have been his first choice, he’s still a good fit who has proven to be one of the best power hitting middle infielders in the game recently. Boston got better today, and that was the main objective of this deal, helping it earn a solid B+ grade.