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Red Sox Notes: Trevor Story rumors and Derek Holland signing

A rumor and another minor-league signing.

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Washington Nationals v Colorado Rockies Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

One of the strange things about this post-lockout period is that we are simultaneously being indulged with regular Hot Stove rumors while there is spring training action going on. It’s a lot for little old me to keep track of. That’s right folks, the guy getting paid to sit on his couch and watch baseball is asking for sympathy. Anyway, while we wait for this Friday afternoon tilt down in Fort Myers to end, a couple of news pieces that came across the wire Friday afternoon.

Red Sox among finalists for Trevor Story

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Red Sox are interested in a top free agent. The difference with this one is that they actually kind of feel like they’re in this one, but perhaps that is just wishful thinking on my part. According to a report from Jon Heyman, the Red Sox are among the finalists with the Giants and two other teams for free agent infielder Trevor Story.

It’s notable that Heyman’s report indicates that Story may be heading for a short-term positional change, because that would fit with the Red Sox situation. Xander Bogaerts made clear early in camp that he was staying at shortstop, which means any infielder signed would likely be slotted for second base. That “short-term” bit in the report should be closely examined, too, because in the even he signed something long-term in Boston that could signal a plan to let Bogaerts walk in the winter, but that is obviously putting the cart way before the horse.

As far as Story himself, he wasn’t my favorite free agent coming into the season but at this point he would be a clear upgrade for this roster and it’s hard to argue with an upgrade in whatever form it would take. He’s coming off a bit of a down year at the plate with a 100 wRC+, but he’s a power-hitting middle infielder who can make an impact on the bases and draw some walks. There would be some concern, I’m sure, about the home/road splits coming from Colorado, but there’s been research that suggests we think about those splits wrong and it’s actually that Rockies hitters are more hurt by playing at Coors Field due to how it affects their road performance outweighing how it affects their home performance.

To me, the bigger concern with Story is that a lot of his value is tied in his defense, and if he’s moved down the defensive spectrum that hurts the overall value. With that being said, simply hunting value is not what the Red Sox should be doing. They have money to spend and they should spend in whatever way adds to the greatest number of wins, not the way adding the most efficiency. There are three other teams involved so it’s far from a sure thing that he comes to Boston, but it’s a situation to monitor.

Derek Holland signed to a minor-league deal

Early Friday morning — way too early for a baseball team, if you ask me — the Red Sox made a pair of minor-league signings official with Travis Shaw and Deivy Grullón, both on the position player side. Friday afternoon they added yet another depth pitcher on a minor-league deal, this time signing Derek Holland. The pitcher announced it in the best way possible.

Holland has been in the majors since 2009, spending most of that time with the Rangers where he struggled to stay healthy but was a mainstay in their rotation when he was able to pitch. The southpaw has bounce around for the last half-decade, though, most recently pitching with the Tigers. In his age-35 season in 2021, Holland pitched mostly out of relief totaling 49 23 innings, finishing with an ugly 5.07 ERA but a more encouraging 3.96 FIP. He can still miss bats, but it’s a matter of limiting walks while also keeping the ball in the yard that has largely held him back. Still, given the need for innings teams will have this year, especially early, signing a bunch of these guys to risk-free minor-league deals is hardly a bad thing.