Boston Red Sox: Pros and cons of the Trevor Story signing

Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox emerged from the shadows and finally got “real” in free agency with the signing of the former Colorado Rockies shortstop, Trevor Story.

Red Sox Nation has been not so patiently waiting for a blockbuster deal to happen and now it has, at least in the amount of cash dispensed. They signed a good player in Story. The question that every Red Sox fan may be asking is, just how good is the signing?

The deal is a six-year, $140M contract for Story. That’s definitely not chump change. Unfortunately, it includes one of those irritating player opt-out clauses after four years. Story’s player option can be wiped off the slate if the Sox decide at any point before then to tack on a seventh year to deal, which would essentially turn it into a seven year, $160 million deal.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the Story deal to see how it adds up for the home team, and if there was an opportunity cost of not signing someone else.

Boston Red Sox pros in signing Trevor Story

Story has a pretty good reputation it seems around baseball. He’s hit a bunch of home runs in the rarified air of Coors Field in Denver where the Rocky Mountain air carries baseballs like a SpaceX rocket ship. Hopefully, his long ball success will continue at Fenway Park.

Story hit 37 and 35 home runs consecutively in 2018 and 2019. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he hit 11 in 59 games. Last season, a better barometer, he played in 142 games and hit 24 home runs with 75 RBIs. He also logged a .251 batting average last season, which was well below his career average of .272.

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Defensively, Story has always been a shortstop. Here’s what website says about his defense,

"Despite the injury in 2021, Story is still a very defensive shortstop as he had 9 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 2021. Since he has been in the majors (since 2016), he has had 14, 12, 7, 21, 6, and 9 DRS in each season. The lowest (6) was also in the 2020 season that was shortened to just 60 games due to the pandemic."

That site also opines that when he’s healthy, he’s, ” … one of the best shortstops in baseball, if not the best.” That sounds good.

So to round up the plusses, it seems that Story is a very good defensive shortstop. He’s also had a few good years hitting home runs in a hitter-friendly ballpark. While his average has dipped during the past two seasons, he’s had a couple of very good seasons hitting for average (e.g. .291 in 2018 and .294 in 2019). Now let’s consider the cons of the deal.

Boston Red Sox cons of signing Story

The first is fairly obvious; the Red Sox have a pretty good shortstop already on the team in Xander Bogaerts, at least for this season after which when he can opt-out of his current deal. So, who out of him and Story will play second base?

That’s a good question. Story is a shortstop, and now the Sox have two good ones, and both can’t play there. Someone may be unhappy. That’s not a good thing.

In addition, he had an elbow injury last season and his arm strength has been questioned. Presumably, the Red Sox did due diligence to be certain that he can throw the ball to first base from either position. At the plate, there is also cause for concern.

As mentioned above, Story has tailed off at the plate the past two seasons. Last season’s .251 batting average isn’t going to set the highly competitive American League East on fire. It looks like he’s Hunter Renfroe with fewer home runs and RBIs, and while he’s better defensively at his position, he also cost a boatload more money.

It’s also worthwhile to look at the opportunity cost of signing Story. First, the team could probably have signed Kyle Schwarber for fewer years and less money. They also could have latched onto Seiya Suzuki, who while untested in the MLB, was an absolute star in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan.

Next. Boston Red Sox finally get their guy in Trevor Story. dark

Yet, the most poignant opportunity cost was not signing a player who is well-versed in American League baseball, is a star, and a World Series winner. That would have been Carlos Correa.

Correa signed a three-year deal (that’s a nice range) with the Minnesota Twins for $105.3M. That’s about nine million dollars or so more per year than Story, but for far fewer years. It says here that Correa is a better player and that was the move to make. Story may be just fine but Correa is a superstar, and his only question is health.

So the Boston Red Sox finally made a “blockbuster” deal. But was it the right one? No, Correa was the better option any way you look at it. We’ll see how it all works out.