Red Sox have ‘at least checked in on’ free agent shortstop Trevor Story, per report

The Red Sox are one of several teams with interest in free-agent shortstop Trevor Story, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Per Heyman, the Astros, Mariners, and Red Sox have all been linked to Story, who remains unsigned in the wake of Major League Baseball’s work stoppage beginning last week.

“Story, I have heard three teams,” Heyman said on the latest installment of the Big Time Baseball podcast. “Seattle, Houston, and Boston. So it would be interesting to see with Boston. Obviously he could start out at second base potentially, and we’ll see what goes on from there.”

Heyman added on Twitter that the Red Sox “have at least checked in with Story” while noting that there are at least three “serious players” and one “mystery team” who are interested in the infielder’s services.

Story, 29, has spent the last six seasons with the Rockies and is fresh off a 2021 campaign in which he 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 over 142 games spanning 595 plate appearances.

Defensively, Story has proven to be one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball since making his major-league debut in 2016. This past season alone, the two-time All-Star put up positive-nine defensive runs saved and an ultimate zone rating of 3.6 across 1,175 innings at the position.

At present, the Red Sox already have one of the better offensive shortstops in the game in Xander Bogaerts, who could potentially opt out of the final three years of his six-year, $120 million contract at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Back in October, ESPN’s Joon Lee reported that Bogaerts “currently plans on opting out of the contract after 2022, but hopes to remain in Boston” and is even “open to moving to second or third base down the road.”

Story has only played shortstop at the major-league level, though there seems to be some speculation that the right-handed hitter would be willing to move to second base in the right situation, such as getting the opportunity to play alongside someone like Bogaerts everyday.

“The AL/NL kind of keeps us apart, but man, he’s so underrated it’s unbelievable,” Story said of Bogaerts at this summer’s All-Star Game festivities in Denver. “He’s such a good player on both sides of the ball. I appreciate just the way he goes out there every day and posts every day. It feels like he’s getting an extra-base hit every day. He’s just a really productive player. And he’s good for the game.”

Even if Story were to express a willingness to switch positions, signing the Excel Sports Management client would not come cheaply since he is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive a six-year, $126 million contract this winter.

Not only that, but Story was also extended a qualifying offer by the Rockies (which he rejected), meaning any other team that signs him would have to forfeit a draft pick and international bonus pool money in order to sign him.

That being said, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo notes that “it’s unclear how serious any talks between the Red Sox and Story advanced before the lockout went into effect at midnight Thursday.”

The ongoing lockout, of course, prevents clubs from speaking with major-league free agents or their representatives. Things will remain that way until a new collective bargaining agreement is ratified.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts named third-best shortstop in baseball by MLB Network

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was ranked by MLB Network as the No. 3 shortstop in baseball headed into the 2021 season on Tuesday night.

Finishing behind the likes of Rockies star Trevor Story and Padres sensation Fernando Tatis Jr., Bogaerts is coming off yet another quality campaign in 2020.

Across 56 games played last year, the 28-year-old posted a .300/.364/.502 slash line to go along with 11 home runs and 28 RBI over 225 total plate appearances.

2020 marked the third consecutive season in which Bogaerts finished with an on-base percentage north of .360, a slugging percentage north of .500, and an OPS+ exceeding 130. He finished in the top-20 in American League MVP voting in each of those three seasons.

Going back to Opening Day 2018, the Aruban infielder has accrued 13.6 fWAR in 347 total games played, the second-highest fWAR total among qualified major-league shortstops behind only Francisco Lindor, who accrued 14.0 fWAR in 361 games played with the Indians over that same stretch.

Bogaerts would likely be at the top of FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboards if the defensive metrics fell in line with what he did on the field.

As MLB Network’s Brian Kenny put it Tuesday night, “the defensive metrics do not like [Bogaerts]. Maybe it’s accurate, maybe not quite. But otherwise he would be a WAR leader as well.”

Last year alone, Bogaerts posted negative-5 defensive runs saved and an ultimate zone rating of just 0.3 over 438 innings at shortstop. He also registered negative-2 outs above average at the position, per Baseball Savant.

With spring training set to begin in just a few short weeks, the two-time All-Star is certainly not at risk of losing his starting job, but that doesn’t mean lofty expectations will be placed upon him heading into the new season.

Just ask Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

“Xander, for instance, when you talk about about the shortstops around the league and now you add [Corey] Seager to that equation, he’s up there with them,” Cora said of Bogaerts back in November. “Maybe the next step for us is to push Xander to be a better defender — and he’s not a bad defender — but to become an elite defender.”

Bogaerts, who does not turn 29 until October, is entering the second year of the six-year, $120 million contract extension he signed with Boston shortly after the start of the 2019 season.

He also has the option to opt out of his contract and become a free-agent at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)