It is Story time in Boston. The Red Sox have reached an agreement on a multi-year deal with free-agent infielder Trevor Story, as was first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, it’s a six-year contract worth at least $140 million. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman adds that Story has the ability to opt out of the deal after the fourth year, but the Red Sox can negate that by picking up a seventh-year option for $20 million. That would take the total value of the deal up to $160 million over seven years.
Story, 29, is expected to become the Sox’ everyday second baseman despite appearing exclusively as a shortstop in his six seasons with the Rockies. Xander Bogaerts, who can opt out of his contract after the 2022 season, will remain at shortstop for Boston.
In agreeing to such a deal with Story, the Red Sox have finally made a big splash in free agency this off-season. Since Chaim Bloom took over as Boston’s chief baseball officer in October 2019, the largest contract the Sox had given out was to Enrique Hernandez, who inked a two-year, $14 million deal with the club last winter.
Story’s deal will surpass Hernandez’s by at least 900%, if not more. He will also be under contract through the end of the 2025 season at the very earliest and through the end of the 2028 season at the latest.
A former first-round (45th overall) draft selection of the Rockies out of Irving High School in 2011, Story broke in with Colorado in 2016 and immediately established himself as a power threat from the right side of the plate by hitting 27 home runs his rookie season.
From the time he made his big-league debut in 2016, Story has hit a total of 158 home runs over 745 games in the process of being recognized as a two-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner who has finished in the top-12 of National League MVP voting on three separate occasions.
Most recently, the right-handed hitter slashed .251/.329/.471 with 34 doubles, five triples, 24 home runs, 75 RBIs, 88 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 53 walks, and 139 strikeouts across 142 games (595 plate appearances) with the Rockies in 2021.
Colorado extended Story a qualifying offer in November, which the Excel Sports Management rejected to remain a free-agent. This means that the Red Sox now have to surrender their second-highest pick in this year’s draft while also having their international signing bonus pool reduced by $500,000.
In addition to the qualifying offer, the Rockies apparently offered Story more than the $140 million he received from the Red Sox, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Story, though, chose Boston over Colorado for competitive reasons.
On that note, Story coming to Boston changes the team’s positional outlook drastically. Although all 6,304 2/3 defensive innings in the majors have come at shortstop, Story — as previously mentioned — will see the lion’s share of his playing time with the Red Sox come at second base.
With Story at second base, Christian Arroyo will likely shift into a utility role and may even see time in the outfield. Hernandez, on the other hand, will presumably see the majority of his defensive reps come in center field, as was the case last year.
Bogaerts, of course, has the ability to become a free-agent next winter if he chooses to opt out of the final three years of the six-year, $120 million contract extension he signed with Boston in April 2019. If Bogaerts elects to go that route and winds up with another team, the Red Sox would have a viable replacement at shortstop in the form of Story for 2023 and beyond.
Story, who does not turn 30 until November, is set to earn an average annual value of $23.33 million with the Sox — making him the highest-paid position player on the team and the second-highest player overall behind only left-hander Chris Sale ($25.6 million).
The Red Sox have yet to make the signing of Story official. Their 40-man roster is currently at full capacity, so they will need to create an opening there before doing so.
(Picture of Trevor Story: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)