Trevor Story is one of two star free agent shortstops remaining on the market. To some extent, he’s in a second tier of his own at this point. Carlos Correa is the clear prize of the class. He’s two years younger than Story with more upside on both sides of the ball, and there’ll be a fairly significant gap in each player’s respective contract reflecting that.
Yet Story should be in high demand in his own right. Only one team can land Correa, and many may not want to entertain an asking price that could approach or top the $325MM Corey Seager landed from the Rangers. Story’s the only other shortstop still on the market who’s likely to offer above-average production for the next few seasons.
Let’s take a look at some potential suitors and try to peg Story’s likeliest landing spot. A few clubs are such longshots they only warrant cursory mention. The Orioles, Pirates and D-Backs aren’t in the kind of competitive window that suggests they’d make this kind of splash. The A’s and Reds are far likelier to cut payroll than make a nine-figure investment. The Rays, Brewers and Royals don’t typically spend at this level and have an abundance of infielders anyways. The Rangers have already signed both Seager and Marcus Semien in the middle infield and have Josh Jung approaching at third base.
Which teams make more sense?
Clubs With Infield Opportunity And Known Interest
- Mariners — Jon Heyman of the MLB Network indicated prior to the lockout that the Mariners had put an offer on the table to Story. Seattle’s known to be pursuing infielders, and while they could roll with a group of Ty France, Adam Frazier, J.P. Crawford and Abraham Toro, adding Story would be a nice boost on both sides of the ball. President of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has been adamant about keeping Crawford at shortstop, but if Story’s amenable, he could slide to second base and push Frazier and/or Toro into roving utility roles.
- Astros — The Astros are facing Correa’s potential departure and have Aledmys Díaz as their top in-house option at shortstop. Top prospect Jeremy Peña isn’t far off big league readiness, but Houston’s a win-now club without many vacancies on the roster. Aside from perhaps left-handed relief, shortstop is the only real question mark. Signing Story would reaffirm their position as one of the best teams in the sport, and Heyman reported they’ve shown some interest.
- Red Sox — Heyman also reported the Red Sox had expressed interest with Story’s camp. Xander Bogaerts is a star, but he can opt out of his current contract after next season. Boston also has some uncertainty at second base, and either of Story or Bogaerts could slide to the other side of the diamond. As with Houston, this is a big-market team that wasn’t far from a championship last year.
Solid Speculative Fits
- Angels — The Angels in-house shortstop options (Tyler Wade, Luis Rengifo, Jack Mayfield and Andrew Velazquez) aren’t enough for a hopeful contender. Los Angeles already has a few long-term investments for position players on the books, and they may still want to add another arm or two on the pitching staff. Locking in some certainty in the middle infield is a necessity, though, and Story fits the bill.
- Blue Jays — The Jays have Bo Bichette at shortstop, but they’re facing some questions at both second and third base. They signed Semien to move off shortstop last winter; might they consider a similar tack with Story? There seems to be some payroll flexibility with which to work, as Toronto made a run at Seager before he landed in Texas.
- Cardinals — The Cardinals could try to upgrade over the Paul DeJong/Edmundo Sosa pairing at shortstop. That’s particularly true if DeJong ends up traded. To this point in the winter, though, there hasn’t been much indication that’s a priority for St. Louis. The Cardinals seem more interested in upgrading the bullpen and perhaps adding to the DH mix.
- Cubs — The Cubs have been tied to Correa for much of the winter. They’re reportedly loath to commit to a decade-long deal, and Story could make sense as a fallback. The Cubs have taken a step back recently, and perhaps they view Correa as a unique player worth spending for. Would they pivot to Story or be content to ride things out with their internal options?
- Dodgers — The Dodgers lost Seager and haven’t done much to replace him this winter. The Trea Turner acquisition at last summer’s deadline could be the necessary shortstop replacement, with Chris Taylor/Gavin Lux/Max Muncy logging action at second base. Los Angeles has been tied to Correa, though, suggesting they’re open to a star shortstop.
- Phillies — The Phillies have question marks in both positions on the right side of the infield. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already told incumbent Didi Gregorius he’s not assured of keeping the shortstop job. Story’s a great fit on paper, particularly given the team’s desire to upgrade defensively. The question: will they want to commit huge resources at shortstop with question marks at third base, the bullpen and two outfield spots?
- Twins — The Twins are trying to immediately rebound from a disastrous 2021 season. They essentially don’t have a starting shortstop. Jorge Polanco had a very good season offensively after moving from shortstop to second base. He could theoretically move back to short, with Luis Arráez stepping in at second. Yet that’s a suboptimal defensive group. Adding a shortstop makes sense, but Minnesota might prefer to allocate their resources to a rotation that has at least two vacancies.
- White Sox — The White Sox have a question mark at second base. That was the case at the trade deadline too, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported at the time they considered a deal for Story. Nothing materialized, but it stands to reason they’d have some interest in a run at him now that he’s a free agent. The potential hold-up, as with a few other teams, is finances. Chicago’s already at a projected franchise record in terms of player spending.
- Yankees — The Yankees entered the offseason with such a glaring need at shortstop that general manager Brian Cashman frankly stated they “have to address” the position. So far, they haven’t. Correa and Story are their last hopes at making an impact add via free agency, but various reports throughout the winter suggested they might look for lower-cost stopgap options with top prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe not far off big league readiness. Would the Yankees pivot to sign a higher-impact player like Story once the new CBA is in place and they have a clearer picture of the luxury tax landscape?
- Giants — The Giants have a ton of payroll space, but reports have suggested they’d prefer to spread their resources around rather than commit to a star free agent. Brandon Crawford is already locked in at shortstop. San Francisco could turn to Story as an upgrade over Tommy La Stella at second base, but the outfield and pitching staff seem like cleaner fits if they do reverse course and make a big splash.
- Guardians — The Guardians have never gone beyond a $60MM guarantee on a single player. There’s essentially no long-term commitments on the books and Cleveland could add at shortstop and push Amed Rosario into the outfield, but it’s unlikely unless Story’s market unexpectedly craters.
- Marlins — The Marlins are trying to add to the offense, but Story’s probably out of their price range. With Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Miguel Rojas in the middle infield, the outfield seems like a bigger priority anyways.
- Nationals — The Nationals have long-term payroll space and an obvious need at shortstop. They could sign Story with an eye towards locking in some certainty for 2023 and beyond, but that kind of splash doesn’t seem to be in the cards this offseason.
- Rockies — Story’s former club has expressed interest in bringing him back. There’s no indication they’ve kept in contact through the offseason, though. Story has expressed some frustration with the organization’s management in the past, and it’d be a real surprise if he ends up returning.
- Tigers — The Tigers have been active this winter and could still try to upgrade at second base. After signing Javier Báez to a six-year deal, though, they don’t look likely to be a serious player for Story.
Can Never Rule Them Out, But There Are Probably Other Priorities
- Braves — The Braves have been quiet thus far, seemingly waiting out a decision from Freddie Freeman. They’ve already got Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley around the infield, so there’s no real need. Yet they’ve been tied to Correa, at least suggesting some openness to adding a shortstop (perhaps then trading Swanson for pitching help).
- Mets — The Mets went hog-wild after installing their new front office. They’re seemingly in line to shatter whatever CBT thresholds are put in place, and with that kind of financial backing from owner Steve Cohen, it’s impossible to rule them out on anyone entirely. Shortstop’s already accounted for with Francisco Lindor, though, and Jeff McNeil, Robinson Canó, J.D. Davis and newcomer Eduardo Escobar are already on hand as second/third base options. Starting pitching looks to be the bigger priority at this point, particularly since signing Story — who rejected a qualifying offer — would require the forfeiture of the #14 overall pick in next year’s draft.
- Padres — President of baseball operations A.J. Preller has boldly struck even in the absence of an obvious team need before. But with Fernando Tatís Jr., Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth, there’s already a great infield in place.
We’ll let the MLBTR readership weigh in. Where is Story likely to end up after the lockout?
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