TODAY: While there has been speculation that teams could be eyeing Story at other infield positions than shortstop, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that “at least one team” interested in Story is considering him as a center fielder. Story has never played in any outfield position during his entire professional career, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he wouldn’t be able to manage a midseason switch.
JULY 21: The trade market has been slow to develop, even for some of the game’s more obvious trade candidates. That includes Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, who figures to draw plenty of interest over the next nine days as the trade deadline closes in. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that as many as six to eight teams have reached out to gauge the asking price on Story.
Story’s value is tough to gauge at the moment for myriad reasons. He’s missed time this year due to elbow troubles, though no structural damage was found at the time of his IL placement and he’s been healthy since mid-June. Story is still owed about $6.97MM of his $17.5MM salary from tomorrow through season’s end, which is a weighty sum to add midseason — particularly with so many owners wary of upping payroll in the wake of last year’s revenue losses. Perhaps most notably, though, is that Story simply hasn’t performed up to his admittedly lofty standards. He’s hitting just .243/.316/.423 on the season with 11 home runs, 18 doubles, two triples and 17 stolen bases.
Rockies interim general manager Bill Schmidt has suggested in the past that he doesn’t feel he has to move Story at all costs prior to the deadline, and while such comments can be taken with a grain of salt, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that there is some growing skepticism among other clubs that Story will actually be moved. The Rockies would stand to receive a compensatory draft pick in the overwhelmingly likely event that Story rejected a qualifying offer and signed elsewhere in free agency. In the unlikely event that he accepted a QO and signed on for another year with the Rox, they’d be able to take a run at trading him again next July.
It’s already been reported that the A’s aren’t likely to pursue Story and that the White Sox are interested in the two-time All-Star. Oakland is apparently not keen on the remaining money he’s owed, and while the A’s could ask the Rockies to cover some or all of that remaining salary, doing so would only up the cost in terms of prospects. The Sox, meanwhile, are without Nick Madrigal for the remainder of the season and could pair Tim Anderson and Story to form a rather imposing middle-infield tandem.
The number of teams with serious interest in a Story acquisition isn’t known and may not be until the next week of make-or-break games plays out. The Nationals, for instance, could use another infielder but will use the next six games or so to determine their deadline approach. The surprising Mariners are reported to be seeking infield help, but their level of aggression could be largely tied to the next seven games, when they’ll host four against the Athletics and three against the Astros — the two teams they trail in the division. Infield help is reportedly a secondary focus for the Mets at the moment, but perhaps if they can get a deal for some rotation help done sooner than later, they’d more seriously look at other areas of upgrade.
Skepticism is understandable, but it still seems likely that for a player of Story’s caliber, a solid offer (or offers) should eventually materialize. Schmidt told Saunders last week that he’s under no obligation to move Story for financial reasons. Speculatively speaking, if finances aren’t a factor and the ultimate goal is to get the best return possible, the Rockies could increase interest by offering to eat the remainder of Story’s salary. The Rox paid a whopping $51MM as part of their trade of Nolan Arenado to St. Louis in the offseason; Story would only be owed $6.12MM from July 31 through season’s end.