MLB free-agency grades Trevor Story gives the Red Sox a new-look infield can he help them win the AL East

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MLB free-agency grades Trevor Story gives the Red Sox a new-look infield can he help them win the AL East

Seems as if everybody in baseball was working through the weekend. Starting late Friday night, the last few big dominoes in this year's free-agent market fell in a final sprint, with Nick Castellanos landing with the Phillies, Carlos Correa stunningly signing with the Twins and, finally, the last shortstop standing, Trevor Story agreeing to a deal with the Boston Red Sox.

Story and his representatives seemed to draw inspiration from a few of the other major shortstop deals from the prolonged offseason. The basic terms of the deal -- six years, $140 million, ESPN's Jeff Passan confirms -- are identical to the contract fellow free-agent shortstop Javier Baez signed with the Tigers, but the structure is different. While Baez can opt out after the second Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys year of his deal, Story reportedly can't do so until after his fourth. However, the Red Sox can nullify the opt-out by tacking on a seventh year to the contract, which would bring its total value up to $160 million, unless Boston decides to buy out that seventh year for $5 million. Got that?On Saturday, in the aftermath of Correa's deal with the Twins, the rumor mill had the Astros as the leader in the Story sweepstakes. That notion didn't fully make sense, as it would have left Houston answering the uncomfortable question of "Why didn't you just give that contract to Correa?" Now, the Jeremy Pena era has begun in the lineage of Houston shortstops.

There are no such questions for the Red Sox, who significantly upgrade their depth chart for the short term and cover themselves against the possible departure of long-time shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who can opt out after the 2022 season and has widely been expected to do so. Meanwhile, for now, ESPN's Marly Rivera reports that the plan is for Story to play second base in Boston while Bogaerts will remain the regular at shortstop.

Not a bad outcome for the Red Sox, and certainly not a bad outcome for Story, who had to be getting more than a little anxious as the last elite free agent on the market, with spring training games underway and the start of the regular season looming on the horizon.Here's the first grade of this analysis: F-minus. That's not for the Red Sox, but for Story's old team,San Francisco 49ers Jerseys the Colorado Rockies. From the trading of Nolan Arenado last spring, to the failure to move Story at last season's trade deadline to the more recent and bizarre decision to give Kris Bryant a seven-year, $182 million deal (or $22 million more than the maximum value of Story's contract), the Rockies have bungled things every step of the way. It is really quite baffling.
Now that we have that out of our system, let's return to the happier part of the deal.

Story debuted in the majors at 23, three years older than the debut age of Bogaerts, but they are both 29 -- almost precisely the same age, having been born about six weeks apart in 1992. Over the past five seasons, they rank second (Bogaerts, 22.0) and sixth (Story, 18.5) in fWAR among shortstops. They've gone about it in different ways, with Bogaerts providing more of his value at the plate while Story has been the better defender and more productive baserunner. Bogaerts' offensive game has been more average/contact oriented, while Story has demonstrated more isolated power.

The first thing Story will have to prove to his discerning new fan base is that his offensive prowess is not because he's a creature of Coors Field. To be sure, Story has put up the typical extreme home-road splits of so many Rockies hitters. For his career, his home OPS is .972, versus .752 on the road.

If you're a Red Sox fan and that scares you, there's a couple of things to keep in mind. First, let's consider that .752 road OPS as Story's floor. Last season, the aggregate OPS for second basemen was .731, so he's still on the right side of average. Moreover, if the history of elite Coors Field hitters tells us anything, it's that home-road splits aren't a very good guide for what a hitter is going to do when he moves to a new club.

Arenado's career road OPS before last season was .793. NFL Jerseys for Cheap During his first season with St. Louis, it was .885. D.J. LeMahieu was at .673 before leaving Colorado after the 2018 season -- since joining the Yankees, he's been at .784 on the road. Every player is a little different, so we can't know for sure that Story will follow the same pattern. But one thing we know (even though no one can seem to figure out why) is that the insidious thing about Coors Field isn't just that it produces puffy numbers for hitters who call it home -- it also depresses road numbers for those same hitters.
Besides, Fenway Park isn't exactly a terrible venue for a right-handed power hitter whose launch angle ranked 23rd among qualified batters last season. Story hits the ball hard, and that plays anywhere -- especially if he can shed the problem of adjusting to the movement of pitches away from the altitude. According to Trumedia, Story has produced a contact rate of 73.8 percent during his .