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The Mass Media

Ask Bobby #12
September 25, 2023

Trevor Story gives Red Sox the impact bat they’ve been looking for

Trevor+Story+of+the+Boston+Red+Sox.

Trevor Story of the Boston Red Sox.

From the moment the MLB lockout formally ended on March 10, there were still multiple big-name free agents who remained unsigned before the league’s business was frozen back in early December. Many of these players didn’t take long to find new homes. Carlos Correa signed a three-year deal with Minnesota. Freddie Freeman went to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kris Bryant surprised a lot of people when he signed for the Colorado Rockies. The Boston Red Sox stood pat for the first week or so of free agency, leading some of their fans to worry that they wouldn’t make any moves at all to improve heading into 2022. Those fears were assuaged, however, when on March 20, the Red Sox signed free-agent middle infielder Trevor Story for six years and $140 million. Bringing in Story was a bit of a surprise as it was the biggest contract the Red Sox had handed out under current President of Baseball Operations, Chaim Bloom. Also, Story had played his entire career so far at shortstop, and the Red Sox already have a starting shortstop in Xander Bogaerts. So, why would they commit so much to Story? Well, there are a number of reasons, actually.
Story, since he debuted with the Rockies in 2016, has quietly become one of the preeminent players in the game of baseball. He is a lifetime .272 hitter with a .340 on-base percentage, .523 slugging percentage, and an .863 on-base plus slugging percentage, averaging 34 home runs, 98 runs batted in, and 22 stolen bases per year. One caveat is that Story benefited from playing at the notoriously hitter-friendly Coors Field in Denver, Colo., where the thin Rocky Mountain air causes the ball to fly out of the yard like no one’s business. Still, Story has a career 112 OPS+, meaning that, adjusting for his ballpark, his OPS was 12 percent better than an average major league hitter over the course of his career. He has also earned high marks for his defense as a shortstop. According to the statistics website Baseball Reference, Story has the eighth most defensive runs saved among all major league players since 2016. Using the advanced metric Wins Above Replacement, Story was one of the top 10 most valuable position players in the National League every year from 2018 to 2020.
With his aforementioned abilities, Story will provide quite a lift to the Red Sox. As a right-handed hitter, he should have no problems mashing at Fenway Park, with its 310-foot-deep foul line to left, and the opportunity to pepper plenty of balls off the Green Monster. With the loss of Kyle Schwarber to free agency and the trade of Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee, Story gives the Sox a needed extra bat in their lineup. He also gives them a bona fide everyday second baseman. Second baseman? Yes, with Bogaerts firmly planted at short, at least for now, Story will man the right side of the infield. Last year, the Red Sox platooned a number of players at second base, but Story gives them a guy who has a legitimate chance of playing virtually the entire season there. But Story is a natural shortstop, and it does raise questions about Bogaerts’ future with the team. Bogaerts does have an opt-out at the end of the season, and, after seeing the absurd money his fellow shortstops have been getting in free agency, he is almost certain to hit the open market. Does that mean he’ll bolt in free agency following this season? Time will tell.