Thursday, February 22

Red Sox land elite infielder Story (source)

The Red Sox have agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with two-time All-Star Trevor Story, one of the winter’s most coveted free agents, a source told reporter Mark Feinsand. The team has not confirmed.

Story’s contract has an opt-out after the fourth season, Feinsand reports, but that would be negated if the team picks up a seventh-year option. If that happens, it would make the deal worth $160 million over seven years.

Story had a down year by his standards in 2021, but still became just the seventh player in AL/NL history to compile 150 or more home runs and 100 or more steals in his first six seasons — Story’s 20th and final steal of the ’21 campaign was the 100th of his career, to go along with 158 homers. He joined some elite company in that category — Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, Andruw Jones, Ryan Braun and Mike Trout are the others in the group.

The achievement is a testament to Story’s tremendous all-around ability. In addition to the offensive accolades, the 29-year-old is third among Major League shortstops in defensive runs saved since he made his debut in 2016, with his 69 DRS trailing only Andrelton Simmons (98) and Nick Ahmed (73). Story is also quick on the bases, with his 28.7 feet/second average Sprint Speed placing him in the 86th percentile among 557 baserunners in 2021.

Story’s diminished trade value as a result of last season’s performance may be why the Rockies didn’t move him prior to the Trade Deadline. But he’s a relatively young free agent, entering his age-29 campaign in ’22, and his tools and track record suggest he’ll be prolific at the plate and in the field for years to come if he stays healthy.

The Rockies drafted Story 45th overall in 2011 out of Irving High School in Texas, and he arrived on the MLB scene on Opening Day 2016 with a bang, launching two homers in his big league debut against the D-backs in Arizona. He then proceeded to set an MLB record with six homers in his first four games.

Following a fourth-place finish in NL Rookie of the Year Award voting in ’16, Story had a rough ’17, leading the NL with 191 strikeouts while posting the lowest OPS of his career (.765). But he made the necessary adjustments at the plate to rebound with his best offensive season the following year, posting a .914 OPS with 37 homers and 27 steals.

That ability to counter what opposing pitchers began to do in his plate appearances in ’17 was a sign of maturity as a hitter, boding well for Story’s future. Outside of a 2021 season in which trade rumors swirled and an elbow injury lingered, he has been consistent since then.

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