It’s now been a full week since Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox made their big splash of the offseason, signing Trevor Story to a six-year deal, by far the biggest deal handed out in this front office’s tenure. With some time to sit on it and get a little more information both on the contract itself and how the fit may work, it’s a good time for our first real judgement of the move. For this week’s staff roundtable, we hand out grades for the Story signing.
I give the Trevor Story signing an A-. He wasn’t the biggest free agent splash of the offseason, but for the Red Sox, it’s a massive addition. Offensively, he’ll lengthen the lineup behind the Sox’s three heavy hitters — Devers, Bogaerts and Martinez — who will provide plenty of opportunities for Story to drive in runs. In the field, he’s proven as an above-average middle infield defender to the tune of 18 career outs above average at shortstop and raises the floor for one of baseball’s worst defensive teams a year ago. I didn’t think the money — a little more than $23 million per year over six seasons — was a bad deal for Boston either.
Other teams around the American League made flashier moves but this one was key to keeping up with the competition. Kudos, Chaim.
After thinking it over for the last few days, I would give the Trevor Story signing a solid B+. The Red Sox went out and signed one of the top free agents left on the post-lockout market. That is good to see and shows that Chaim Bloom and Co. are willing to spend on premier talent. To that end, the Red Sox signed a player who is not exactly a natural fit. Seeing how he played second base a bit in the minors, this might not be that big of a deal. But it’s still interesting that they signed a shortstop to play second base when their own shortstop (Xander Bogaerts) will likely become a free agent after the season. All told, Story should provide the Red Sox with plenty of offensive production from the right side of the plate, which is something they were in search of after trading Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee. There is a lot to be intrigued about with this deal – including the option decisions – and I am optimistic it will work out for both sides.
The Trevor Story signing is an A. If Xander Bogaerts leaves at the end of the season, that falls to an A- or maybe a B+. This is exactly what the Red Sox need to be doing: using their money for big splashes. Everyone loves prospects. Fans enjoy seeing guys grow up through the system and spend their careers in one place, like Dustin Pedroia. And hopefully Rafael Devers. But when you have a core of players that are developed in-house and especially if you’re a large market team, you spend on free agents to make the team complete. Trevor Story wanted to be in Boston (and, let’s face it, most other cities than Denver) because he wanted to win.
Are his splits away from Coors something to worry about? Maybe. But guys who leave the Rockies usually settle into a new home park better than their splits away from altitude would imply. Story hits a lot of balls to left field. We’ve heard time after time after time that the Red Sox try to play to Fenway Park and, judging by their home field records most years, that plan works. If Bogaerts stays, Story is a heck of a second baseman replacing Pedroia for years to come. If he leaves, Story is a heck of a shortstop himself. He doesn’t have the Astros baggage of Carlos Correa or the massive price tag of Corey Seager. He’s just a really good player at a position of need. That’s an A every time.
Considering we haven’t seen Chaim Bloom make a huge move like this yet and considering some of the other more pressing needs on the team (outfield, pitching), I think this deal isn’t a complete slam dunk. Don’t get me wrong, I think Story is a very good player and I’m excited by what he’ll bring in terms of power, speed and defense, but he wouldn’t have been my primary target if I were the Red Sox this offseason. Granted, we have no clue how other free agent discussions went, and it’s better that they spent some money rather than just staying still, I suppose, but I just am not entirely sold on the move, especially since it creates even more uncertainty about Xander Bogaerts’ future. For now, Story is going to play second, but if Bogaerts opts out at the end of this year and ends up signing elsewhere, it will certainly seem like adding Story was a factor. In addition, although I’m not going to stake everything on a single season worth of results, Story wasn’t exactly exceptional as a hitter last year, which worries me a bit.
The best free agent deals are ones that work out, of course, but you can still feel good about the ones that don’t if they were made because of the good reasoning at the time. To use an analogy, it’s like betting on a good hand in poker. Sure, you could still lose, by going all in with pocket aces vs. another hand is still the right move even if you get busted. For this deal, I don’t feel like that logic is as strong. If Bogaerts leaves and Story doesn’t produce, we won’t be able to look back and say, well, the move made perfect sense at the time, and that makes me a little nervous.
Overall, the Red Sox signed a good player but with more potential for some regret down the line than other transactions that could have come to pass, so I’ll give this a C+. Now, hopefully Story will go out and prove me 100 percent wrong for being a doubter.
I’ll give it a B.
I love this signing. As a Colorado native and Rockies fan, I am so excited to now have Story on my favorite team— specifically one that has shown that they actually care about winning. His offense provides a spark to an already scary lineup, and his defense will no doubt improve the team’s defense wherever he plays on the field. This being said, I would much rather he be the shortstop over Xander Bogaerts. No matter how much I love Xander, and he has obviously cemented a legacy already as a Red Sox shortstop, Story’s defense runs circles around Bogaerts’.
Over the past five years:
- Story: 55 DRS, 15.7 UZR, 13 OAA (48.6 percentile)
- Bogaerts: -37 DRS, 4.8 UZR, -23 OAA (22.6 percentile)
So, end of the story (pun intended), Bogaerts moving over would help the team overall, but still, Story’s addition improves the team overall and gets the Sox a star player in his prime.
Bayleigh Von Schneider
I personally love the Story signing. First off, he signed for less than what was projected, and he took less money, and a position change for a really solid chance to win. Not to mention that spray charts and what exactly his swing could mean at Fenway. I do not believe Story will feel “The Coors Effect,” because others have left Coors and had extremely successful careers. Story also sets up insurance, given the fact that Xander Boagaerts might leave at the end of the 2022 season. I sure hope not, as I believe we can live in a world where Story, Boagaerts and Devers play a long time together and chase championships. I’d give the overall signing of Story an A-. It’s a bit hard to grade given we haven’t seen it play out, but as of now, I find it an extremely beneficial signing for the Red Sox.
There are plenty of implications for how this affects current Red Sox infielders down the road that could be a part of this letter grade. However, focusing on the player himself and the need for the 2022 Red Sox, I would give this signing an A-. My dream offseason involved a mega offer for Max Scherzer, and trying to find value with position players (while taking care of a couple of extensions, of course.) My back-up plan involved either Marcus Semien or Trevor Story as the big splash. Once Steve Cohen was not to be denied on any player he wanted, and the Rangers spent record-setting amounts on a new middle infield, Story made the most sense. I do think Chaim Bloom played with fire a little bit, as I am unsure what Plan C or D would have been had Story not signed, but here we are. A power and speed combo middle infielder who plays solid defense, and whose right-handed pull swing should wear out the left field wall. I would love to see Story hit second in the lineup, behind Enrique Hernandez and ahead of Rafael Devers, and score 110 runs while stealing 20 bases. Kudos to Bloom’s team for making the right move, albeit with a week-long heart attack leading up to last Sunday.
I give it an A. Apart from the obvious boost his bat brings to the lineup, his defense is a huge upgrade, even at second base, to an infield that was riddled with errors and was called out by Eduardo Rodriguez not so subtly in his introductory press conference in Detroit. Another more underrated way Story helps the Red Sox is on the base paths. The Red Sox haven’t had a 20 base stealer since Mookie Betts stole 30 in 2018 and having a presence like that on the base paths again is going to be electric.
I’ll give it a B+. I think in a vacuum it’s an A for a lot of reasons. It’s a clear upgrade for the lineup, as well as for an infield defense that was a huge weakness a year ago. The money is perfectly reasonable. It all makes sense. But alas, we don’t live in a vacuum. The only reason I won’t give it an A is because I think addressing the outfield with a similar level talent would have been a better move, especially since they’ve done nothing in that area at all. Another move there shifts this up to an A-, probably.