Carlos Correa and Corey Seager have taken most of the headlines since the offseason started. And it makes sense: both are incredibly good players on a premium position, one with a fantastic hit tool and the other one with great defense and more well-rounded. Those two are the top shortstops available.
But somehow, people are sleeping on Trevor Story. The Colorado Rockies’ shortstop has paid the price of playing half his games at Coors Field with good, but not great yearly wRC+ marks (he is at 112 for his career), but is a solid, well-rounded player who is hitting free agency at a very good age: he just turned 29.
Story is a two-time All-Star (2018, 2019), a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2018, 2019), and was the National League stolen base leader in 2020. He holds the record for being the fastest shortstop to reach 100 home runs in MLB. Right now, he has 158 long balls and averaged just under 31 per season from 2016 to 2019.
His 2021 campaign wasn’t his best, but he managed to end on a high note thanks to a strong second half. He slashed .251/.329/.471 with 24 homers, 20 steals, and a 100 wRC+, his lowest since 2017. However, he was much better after the All-Star break (111 wRC+) than before (90 wRC+).
In April and May, he had to deal with finger and elbow injuries that may have affected his performance somewhat. During the second half, he played as we all expect him to play: .253/.337/.506 with a .843 OPS and a .253 ISO.
Story’s new team – he probably won’t come back to the dysfunctional mess that the Colorado Rockies are – will have to deal with slightly worse production than what he has done to this point, but the drop-off won’t be huge. He will remain an above-average offensive player with the potential to hit 25 home runs and steal 20 bases while playing good defense at an up-the-middle position. That is very, very valuable.
Speaking of defense, Story didn’t rate very well this year. UZR/150 liked him, with a 3.1 mark, and DRS loved him, as he had 9. However, Outs Above Average (OAA) hated him (-7), and Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA) thought he was bad, too, at -2.8. However, he has excelled in the past using all those metrics and should remain a quality defender at short for at least half of his next contract.
The team that decides to sign him will have to surrender a high draft pick, as Story rejected the Rockies’ qualifying offer, worth $18.4 million for one year. He should comfortably beat that number in the open market.
The player had a face-to-face meeting with the Texas Rangers, his hometown team, this week, and is expected to meet with other clubs, too. The Philadelphia Phillies make a ton of sense as a potential suitor, given that they employ one of the worst starting shortstops in baseball in Didi Gregorius.
The Houston Astros may need to replace Correa, and Story could offer similar production for half the contract. The New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and St. Louis Cardinals may also be interested in Story. And they should, because he is a very, very good player, who should be able to approach between $140 million and $150 million on a five or six-year deal.
Andrés Chávez loves the game of baseball and writes about it at Beyond the Box Score, Pinstripe Alley, and other sites. He is on Twitter as @andres_chavez13