The former Colorado Rockie landed a six-year, $140 million contract, which includes a player option after year four. Notably, the deal was announced less than 24 hours after fellow shortstop — and consensus top overall free agent — Carlos Correa signed with the Minnesota Twins.
Story, despite regressing a bit in 2021, remains an extraordinarily talented five-tool player. While batting only .251 last year, he still contributed 24 home runs and 20 stolen bases amid a mediocre Colorado lineup. During the season, he became just the seventh player in history to hit over 150 home runs and steal 100 bases in their first six seasons (joining only Mike Trout among active players). Story’s best season came in 2018, when he hit .291/.348/.567 with 42 doubles, 37 home runs, and 27 stolen bases.
The acquisition of the two-time All-Star cements Boston’s infield as one of the best in all of baseball. Story will join sluggers Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts, as well as young talent Bobby Dalbec. Devers is coming off a tremendous 2021 in which he hit 38 home runs and 37 doubles, while Bogaerts was again quietly excellent, winning his fourth Silver Slugger award. Dalbec was tremendously inconsistent in his rookie season, but showed glimpses of his potential throughout a strong second half, finishing with 25 home runs despite a .240 average.
It remains unclear how the team will divide the middle infield between Bogaerts and Story, who are both shortstops. While Bogaerts plays the position smoothly and with few errors (only 9 in 2021), advanced metrics give the nod to Story. Since 2016, he is 12th among the position with 18 outs above average, while Bogaerts is far second-to-worst with -39.
Despite his defensive prowess, recent history shows that Story is more likely to move to second, especially given Bogaerts’ standing as the veteran team leader. The Blue Jays asked Marcus Semien to transition to second after acquiring him in free agency ahead of the 2021 season, just as the Dodgers did when trading for Trea Turner mid-season. Both teams already had talented, homegrown players at shortstop (Bo Bichette and Corey Seager, respectively) and opted to ask the new arrival to let go of their traditional position. Story should likely expect the same in Boston.
Regardless of where he finds himself vis-à-vis second base, Story’s arrival to Boston brings with it a renewed opportunity for postseason baseball. While Colorado ended the year seven games below .500 and 32.5 out of first place, the Red Sox coupled an excellent first half with a just-good-enough second to make the Wild Card game. There, they dispatched the Yankees before beating the 100-win Rays in the Divisional Series, ultimately falling to the pennant-winning Astros. Story’s last playoff appearance was in 2018, the same year the Red Sox won the World Series.
In 2022, the Red Sox will be striving to compete in what projects to be a brutal race for the AL East. Story’s talents with his bat, glove, and speed — especially should he return to MVP-candidate form — will be well-appreciated in Boston.
(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)