Mazz: For Trevor Story, the job of shortstop could be a short stop
In 2023, at least, the Red Sox missed Xander Bogaerts. Going forward, how shortstop Trevor Story and his successors fare in the future will determine whether we end up looking at Bogaerts like we look at Mookie Betts.
Hence the photo above.
Presumably, Trevor Story will play a major role in determining that outcome, though the early returns haven’t been good. After undergoing an offseason procedure on his elbow, Story played in just 43 games this season, batting a paltry .203 with a .566 OPS. Add that onto the 94 games he played in 2022 and Story has played a mere 137 games in two season with the Red Sox, for who he now owns a career .227 average and .685 OPS after signing a six-year, $140 million contract through the 2027 season.
This year, while Red Sox shortstops collectively finished 27th in the majors in OPS, Bogaerts and the San Diego Padres finished seventh. Defensively, the Red Sox (12th) actually finished ahead of the Padres (19th) in defensive runs saved, a metric that changed in Boston’s favor when Story showed up.
Based on comments from Alex Cora immediately after the season, the expectation is that Story will be the Red Sox shortstop in 2024, though even that may be temporary. Highly-touted shortstop Marcelo Mayer (the fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft) could be in Boston as soon as 2025, which might necessitate Story finding a new spot whenever Mayer arrives.
Could Story move to second now? Sure, though that seems unlikely based on Cora’s recent remarks. In the interim, if healthy, Story should help the Red Sox significantly on defense next season in 2024. That said, given a minimum of 550 plate appearances over the 2022-2023 seasons, Story ranks 235th among 285 qualifying players in OPS, which isn’t worth anything close to $23.3 million per year, his average annual salary.
We all like defense, but offense is what gets you paid. And if you can’t hit, you may not get the right to dictate where you play.