Earlier this week, we took a look at which teams seemed like the best suitors for Trevor Story once the transactions freeze concludes. Today, we’ll focus on what kind of contract Story can expect to land.
Entering the offseason, MLBTR ranked the former Rockies star as the game’s #8 free agent. During those deliberations, Story proved one of the tougher players to value. While Tim Dierkes, Steve Adams and myself ultimately landed on a six-year, $126MM projected contract, there were few players with a wider range of possibilities.
That’s largely because Story hit the market coming off his worst offensive showing in four years. He was a middle-of-the-order caliber hitter between 2018-20, though, and that 2021 downturn was attributable mostly to a poor first half. Story got off to a tough start to the year, including a few weeks on the injured list owing to right elbow inflammation. Yet over the season’s final couple months, his offensive production landed right in line with peak levels.
As is the case with essentially all Rockies hitters, Story produced far better at home than he did on the road. A signing team can expect his road performance to improve once he leaves Colorado, though, since there’s been a fair bit of research suggesting Rockies hitters are adversely disadvantaged on the road — likely due to pitches moving slightly differently at sea level than they do at altitude. It’s perhaps more alarming that Story’s numbers against right-handed pitching have tailed off a bit over the past couple seasons.
He’s a similarly tricky player to value defensively. Public metrics are split on his work. Defensive Runs Saved has pegged Story as an excellent shortstop every year of his career. Statcast’s Outs Above Average was quite bearish on his 2021 performance. There’s little concern about his range, but he has had some issues with throwing errors — to the point that some scouts reportedly believe Story’s a better fit at second base than shortstop.
Projecting Story’s long-term performance is tricky enough, but his market’s influenced by the stacked free agent class of middle infielders. Story wasn’t going to compete with Carlos Correa or Corey Seager at the top of the class. He’s almost two years older than both players and coming off less impressive years. Yet slotting him in among the remaining star free agent shortstops was more challenging.
Ultimately, we placed Story between Marcus Semien and Javier Báez in projected earning power. Semien was projected for a six-year, $138MM deal; Báez landed a five-year, $100MM estimate. Both of those players have already signed, and they each surpassed those expectations. The Rangers landed Semien for $175MM over seven years; Báez got six years and $140MM from the Tigers. Is that an indication that Story could also be looking at a loftier than anticipated deal?
What does the MLBTR readership think? Where will Story’s eventual guarantee wind up?
(poll link for app users)