The White Sox “have serious interest” in star Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Colorado isn’t expected to trade Story — to the White Sox or anyone else — before the All-Star Break, Nightengale adds.
At first glance, the Sox would appear to be an odd fit to acquire a high-end shortstop. They already have an All-Star caliber player at the position in Tim Anderson. The idea under consideration, though, would be for Chicago to add Story with the idea of kicking him over to second base for the remainder of the year.
Chicago has already lost incumbent second baseman Nick Madrigal for the season on account of a hamstring strain that required surgery. The position has been manned by Danny Mendick and Leury García since then, and it’s clearly an area at which the Sox front office is hoping to upgrade. Chicago has been tied to both Diamondbacks infielder Eduardo Escobar and Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier in recent weeks. Those remain plausible scenarios, although Nightengale writes that Escobar’s recent battle with a nagging right quad injury has cooled Chicago’s interest in him somewhat.
While it might be surprising to hear of a team contemplating a trade for a plus defensive shortstop only to move him off the position, the idea becomes more sensible when considering the league context. Most contending clubs already have an entrenched in-house shortstop. That could cause teams to look for more creative ways of installing Story into the lineup to plug other holes on the roster.
Story hasn’t played anywhere other than shortstop during his MLB career. He had a little bit of time at second and third base during his days as a prospect but hasn’t logged a single inning at another position since 2015. Nevertheless, there’s reason to believe he’s equipped to take on another spot on the dirt.
Second and third base are less demanding positions to handle than shortstop. A team acquiring Story and moving him to second temporarily wouldn’t be all that dissimilar from the Blue Jays signing former A’s shortstop Marcus Semien to man the keystone in deference to Bo Bichette. Semien has adjusted to that transition swimmingly.
A player’s willingness to take on new positions can vary person-to-person, of course. But there’d be ample reason for Story to embrace a move off shortstop if it helps facilitate a trade. Not only would he leave the 36-48 Rockies for a chance to compete for a postseason berth, a midseason deal would remove the possibility of Story being tagged with a qualifying offer before he hits free agency at the end of the year.
Teams other than the White Sox are certainly also in the mix for Story, so a trade of some sort continues to look very likely. The 28-year-old isn’t amidst his best season, hitting .255/.328/.445 with ten home runs across 296 plate appearances. He was among the best players in baseball over the past three seasons, though, combining for a cumulative .292/.355/.554 slash line.