The contract the Red Sox gave Story
In their yearly free agency preview, MLBtraderumors.com predicted that Trevor Story would receive a 6-year, $126 million contract. Even after every other premier shortstop signed monster contracts and a new CBA raised the luxury tax $20 million, Story got a contract only $2.5 million more per year than MLBtraderumors predicted. Story’s $22.33 million AAV also compares favorably to other big infield bats who signed this winter:
Javier Baez: $22.33 million
Carlos Correa: $35 million
Corey Seager: $32.5 million
Freddie Freeman: $27 million
Kris Bryant: $26 million
Marcus Semien: $25 million
It should be noted that many of these players signed before the lockout, when the CBA was still $210 million and there was no universal DH, and arguably none who possess the package of skills that Story does. Even though the Red Sox are now over the first luxury tax threshold, this is a completely reasonable deal that they had to make.
Story’s contract also comes with a unique quirk. He has the ability to opt-out after the 2025 season, but if he does, the Red Sox can add a seventh year to the deal that will override the opt out. Ultimately, it’s unlikely that Story will use the opt-out, as he will be 33 years old and unlikely to get more than $23.33 million a year, but it’s a clause that I’ve never seen before.
The more interesting aspect of the deal isn’t the $140 million or the opt-out but rather the six-year commitment. Obviously, the Red Sox have Bogaerts at shortstop, but he famously has an opt-out clause at the end of the 2022 season that he had indicated he’s going to use. The signing of Story gives the Red Sox issuance if Bogaerts decides to leave or a long-term solution at second base if he re-signs.
What complicates the matter is the collection of middle-infield prospects in the Red Sox system. Jeter Downs had a disastrous season in his first taste of Triple-A, but he still has high-end potential. Second baseman Nick Yorke broke out with a .325 batting average, and first-round pick Marcelo Mayer is one of the best prospects in baseball. The signing of the Story might block all three of those guys, especially if Bogaerts re-signs.
It’s foolish, however, to base major league actions on the strength of a minor league prospect. As Downs has shown, progress is not linear, and a lot can happen to even the safest of minor leaguers. The Red Sox needed to get a player like Story, and no amount of minor league talent could have prevented them from getting their guy.