In March 2022, the Boston Red Sox signed Trevor Story to a six-year $140 million deal. Since signing that deal, Story has been on the injured list three times. Beginning the 2023 season on the injured list, other players have had to step up and fill in and have done so beyond expectations. What does this mean for the Red Sox and Story?
In his first season with the Sox, Story was productive and transitioned from his usual shortstop position to second base reasonably well.
The Red Sox and Trevor Story: The Whole Story
Boston got Story after he tested the free agent market. From there, he played 94 games for the Red Sox, where he batted .234, with 85 hits, 22 doubles, and 16 home runs. He also had 66 RBI and stole 16 bases. Although, Story missed time during the season from July 16 until August 23. Less than a month after returning from the injured list, Story was out again on September 22. Unlike the hand contusion that put them on the injured list the first time, the culprit this time was a heel contusion which ended his 2022 season altogether.
When the Red Sox decided not to re-sign Xander Bogaerts, shortstop became Story’s position for the taking. Except, he injured a ligament in his elbow in December of 2022 while preparing to get ready for spring training in February. Story had surgery to repair the ligament, and a firm timetable of his return has yet to be established, though he was placed on the 60-day injured list on February 16, 2023.
Second Base and Shortstop by Committee
With Story on the injured list, the Red Sox have had to go with a committee of players up the middle. The results, overall, have been successful, as the team has the sixth-best record in baseball overall. Yu Chang has provided power with three home runs and eight RBI in only 44 at-bats. Christian Arroyo is batting a respectable .257, but both Chang and Arroyo are on the injured list, however. Chang is sidelined after fracturing his hamate bone in his hand while Arroyo is out with a hamstring strain. Other players who have seen time at middle infield include the versatile Kike’ Hernandez, former second base stalwart Justin Turner, and Bobby Dalbec. Arguably, the most productive, though, is rookie Enmanuel Valdez.
Story of the Future
Valdez was called up on April 25, 2023, from Triple-A Worcester. Valdez has slashed .324, with 12 hits, including three doubles and a home run. He has six RBI and three stolen bases in only 11 games for Boston this season. Meanwhile, this season, David Hamilton plays great baseball for the Worcester Red Sox. He is hitting .311, with six dingers and 15 RBI, in 106 at-bats. However, what may be the most staggering number overall is Hamilton’s 20 stolen bases in 28 games! Hamilton can play second and shortstop, as needed.
Does This Mean Anything for Trevor Story?
Going by the Red Sox history, the production of the players occupying the infield currently, and Hamilton’s production at Triple-A, maybe not. The Red Sox have acquired talented players who could have performed better after signing big contracts with the team. One player who signed a big contract was highly productive but was traded anyway. What Story has going against him now is he has already been on the IL three times over two seasons. The Story is also 30.
Of the six players who have played second or shortstop in 2023, two are older than Story . Turner, 38, and Hernandez, who is 31. The remaining four players are Dalbec (27), Chang (27), Arroyo (27), and Valdez (24). It does not even take into consideration Hamilton (25). What Story has in his favor is those seven players will be free agents after the season, except for Turner who has a club option for 2023.
Big Signings with Dismal Results
Edgar Renteria, 2004
Boston signed Edgar Renteria in free agency, in December of 2004, to the tune of four years, $40 million. In his lone season in Boston, Renteria had decent offensive numbers. He hit .276, 70 RBI, 36 doubles, four triples, and eight home runs in 153 games. However, his defense was atrocious, leading the majors with 30 errors that season. In December 2005, the Sox traded Renteria to the Atlanta Braves.
Carl Crawford, 2010
The Red Sox signed Crawford during the 2010 offseason for seven years, $142 million. In Crawford’s first season in “Beantown,” in 130 games, Crawford batted .255. He had 184 hits including 29 doubles, seven triples, and 11 home runs. Crawford also stole 18 bases and knocked in 56 runs. During the 2012 offseason, Crawford injured his wrist, requiring surgery. Crawford made his 2012 debut for the Red Sox on July 16, 2012. A little over a month later, Crawford was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In all fairness, Crawford was not treated fairly and, in one instance, in a demoralizing manner, during his tenure with the Red Sox.
Pablo Sandoval, 2014
The Sox signed Sandoval to a five-year $90 million contract. In his first season, Sandoval batted .245, with ten home runs and 47 RBI, all career lows for Sandoval. He also had the highest swing rate at pitches out of the strike zone that season (47.5 %). In his sophomore campaign in 2016, Sandoval came into spring training overweight and out of shape. He ended up losing his starting position at third base. On April 15, 2016, Sandoval was placed on the injured list with a shoulder injury; surgery was completed in May 2016. In his final season in Boston in 2017, Sandoval was designated for assignment in July, batting .212 on the season, with four home runs and 12 RBI, in 32 games for Boston.
Adrián González, 2010
The Sox acquired González from the San Diego Padres in December 2010 for other players (including Anthony Rizzo). The Sox signed González to a seven-year, $154 million contract in April of 2011. González batted an eye-popping .338 on the season. He had 213 hits (45 doubles, three triples, and 27 home runs). He also batted in 117 runs in 159 games. In his second season in Boston, he still put up big numbers, hitting .300 with 15 home runs, and 86 RBI. In August of 2012, the Red Sox traded him along with others to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move was mainly due to the hellacious Bobby Valentine regime of 2012 in Boston.
Would the Red Sox be apt to trade Trevor Story, despite signing him to a big contract last season? While improbable, it would also not be impossible or surprising. It would be like A-Gon 2.0. Story’s latest injury occurred two months before Spring Training, and Story did not decide to have surgery until January. Was Story keeping in shape from when his heel contusion healed to when he injured his elbow? Do players loaf on the couch once their season is over until they decide to get ready for February?
Additionally, suppose one were to know they had a severe injury and wanted to rectify it most quickly and efficiently as possible. The Story of Trevor Story is an interesting one. The coming chapters will be the most intriguing of all.
Photo Credit: © James A. Pittman-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Yu Chang, Christian Arroyo, Justin Turner, Bobby Dalbec, Enmanuel Valdez, David Hamilton, Edgar Renteria, Carl Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, Adrián González, Anthony Rizzo, Terry Francona, Bobby Valentine