All through the lockout, Red Sox fans knew that they were going to need to address their lineup when transactions opened back up. It seemed the most likely scenario would bring in a new bat for the corner outfield, but it wasn’t the only possibility. They could also potentially find an upgrade at second base, and it seems that’s the route they’re taking. According to a report from Bob Nightengale of the USA Today, and confirmed by Jim Bowden, the Red Sox have agreed to terms with Trevor Story. Ken Rosenthal reports the deal is for six years and worth a total of $140 million. For luxury tax purposes, that is an average annual value of $23.3 million. Meanwhile, Jon Heyman reports there is a “complicated” opt out in the deal in which, if exercised, the Red Sox would then have the opportunity to retain him at different terms. According to Joel Sherman — so many reporters on this one! — the opt out is after year for, and the Red Sox can negate it by adding a seventh year and another $20 million.
Story was one of the biggest free agents on the market this year, and he was also one of the 13 players to hit the market after declining a qualifying offer, which means the Red Sox have to give up a draft pick compensation in this deal. Boston thus loses their second highest draft pick of next summer’s draft, which will be the pick that they received for losing Eduardo Rodriguez. It should be noted Boston has two second round picks in addition to that, so while the price is not insignificant they have the depth in that area of the draft to feel more comfortable giving it up.
As for Story, the Red Sox get a very good player, though one who is coming off a down year. In 2021, over the course of 595 plate appearances he hit .251/.329/.471 for a perfectly average 100 wRC+. Over the three years prior to that, though, he had a 124 wRC+ and was tied with Xander Bogaerts for ninth in all of baseball in fWAR among position players. He’s also entering his age-29 season and hits from the right side, checking a bunch of the boxes the Red Sox were looking for. With the signing, Christian Arroyo now slides into a bench role where he can spell everyone in the infield, which is a big boost to the bench to go along with the upgrade in the starting the lineup.
It’s fitting that he was tied with Bogaerts, too, because that coincides with the most interesting part of this deal, which comes down to how things line up defensively. One of the reasons Story has been so valuable over his career has been his defense at shortstop, but Bogaerts just recently said he had no intention of moving off that position. On top of that, Story dealt with elbow issues for much of last season — the injury concerns also very well may have played into the offensive struggles as well — and it’s not clear what his arm strength is. So despite Story historically being the better defensive shortstop, and by a wide margin, it’s likely he’d slide over to second base with Bogaerts remaining at shortstop.
There are also a whole lot of long-term implications to this deal with Bogaerts’ opt-out, not to mention the ripple effects throughout the lineup and the organization. We will cover that in due time, but in the meantime the Red Sox finally made their splash, and it undeniably upgraded the roster.