The Red Sox added a big bat to the order and a terrific defender when they signed free agent infielder Trevor Story to a six-year deal for $140 million over the weekend. As a natural shortstop, Story will likely play second base instead in 2022, while Xander Bogaerts will stay put.
The Story signing improves the Red Sox offensively entering 2022, but raises questions about the infield moving forward. Beginning with the most pressing, the Red Sox now have multiple premium options at shortstop.
Bogaerts remains one of the most productive offensive players at the position. Defensively, however, Bogaerts has struggled and is nearing a point in his career where his play with the glove could force him to switch positions.
Bogaerts’ lack of mobility and range affects his ability to stretch his capabilities as a defender. He most recently posted minus-5 defensive runs saved in 2021, according to Fangraphs.
Story comes to Boston with more defensive prowess at the position. He registered nine defensive runs saved in 2021, which was good for fourth-best among all shortstops.
Bogaerts enters this season with an opt-out of his contract. Bogaerts signed an extension in 2019 to relatively team-friendly terms of six years and $120 million. Since then, the 29-year-old expressed his intention to opt out of his current deal in favor of a new contract. If he stays, he could flip positions with Story. If not, he will depart from Boston to cash in and stay at shortstop elsewhere.
Elsewhere across the infield, positional battles are up for grabs in coming seasons at first base. Bobby Dalbec gets the starting job in 2022, but will need to create more contact to go along with his standout power potential. With Triston Casas slugging his way through the minor leagues, Boston will have decisions to make about how he will fit in as well.
These are good problems for the Red Sox, with positional battles fueling competition between talented ballplayers that will only enhance a bright future in this area of the roster.
The Story signing gives the Red Sox an immediate boost with both his bat and glove in 2022, while offering flexibility in the near future.
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