The phone call that helped the Boston Red Sox land Trevor Story
The Boston Red Sox identified Trevor Story as their top free-agent target at the beginning of the offseason. There were plenty of options to consider in a loaded class of position players but they felt that the two-time All-Star was the best fit for their team. All the Red Sox needed to do in order to lure Story to Boston was convince him that they were the best fit for him.
Money is always a factor and the 6-year, $140 million offer from the Red Sox certainly influenced Story’s decision. He undoubtedly had comparable offers on the table with several teams with deep pockets, including the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros rumored to be in the mix. The competition increased once Story was the last prominent free-agent standing.
Story was always going to find a lucrative salary somewhere but that couldn’t be the only reason guiding his decision. He wants to win, which meant moving on from a Colorado Rockies team that hadn’t made the postseason since 2018. Boston presented that opportunity after reaching the ALCS last year, a postseason run deeper than Story ever experienced in Denver. The Red Sox also offered a passionate fan base, a franchise rich with tradition, and a stable organization from the front office down to the coaching staff.
All of these factors had to be taken into consideration but there was one more box to check off. Story needed to be convinced that this team was the right fit on the field and in the clubhouse. According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, when Story was asked about the most impactful moment when the Red Sox were courting him, his answer was a bit of a surprise – a phone call from Xander Bogaerts.
"“I think Bogey (Xander Bogaerts) reaching out,” said Story. “He didn’t have to do that. It’s something that made me feel very comfortable. Everyone, from man to man, who I talked to, seemed like high character guys and guys I wanted to go to battle with.”"
Other players reached out with their pitch to recruit him to Boston but when Story answered a call from an unknown number that turned out to be Bogaerts, the gesture made a difference.
There had been some concern that courting a star shortstop would create tension between the team and the face of the franchise who happens to play the same position. He’s made it clear that he views himself as a shortstop with no desire for an immediate position change and the Red Sox weren’t willing to risk rocking the boat with a looming opt-out decision facing Bogaerts after the season.
Bogaerts being on board with the new addition to the infield settles any concerns about creating a rift that hinders their chances at keeping him in Boston. He doesn’t view signing Story as brining in his potential long-term replacement, but rather an opportunity to improve a team with championship aspirations. Winning is what matters most and Bogaerts knows Story can help the Red Sox win more games.
"“No, no, I didn’t think about it that way,” said Bogaerts regarding any hesitation of Story coming to the Red Sox since he also played shortstop. “All I’m focused on is this year. I enjoy winning a lot. I’m obsessed with winning. I’m very competitive and that’s one guy, he just makes your team so much better. If there’s a chance you can get him, why not?”"
That’s a leader. A player who is focused on the team’s immediate goals over his own long-term interests.
We know what Story’s bat is capable of providing and his right-handed pull-side power is a perfect fit for Fenway Park. Bogaerts also pointed out that his new teammate’s speed provides the Red Sox with an element they were lacking last season when they didn’t have anyone capable of swiping the 20+ bases that Story routinely tallies each year. Story is a five-tool talent who can contribute in a variety of ways.
Story has graciously agreed to move to second base to accommodate Bogaerts. The position change isn’t something he would have considered for just any team, but for the right team, the right fit, he’s willing to make the switch. Going to a team with an established star shortstop with championship experience made it an easier decision.
While Story provides the Red Sox with insurance at the shortstop position if Bogaerts opts-out with the intention of leaving after this season, Chaim Bloom explained that he envisions a future with both star middle infielders, per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo.
"“We want Bogaerts to be here for a long time,” said Bloom. “The great thing about Story and the player he is, is that he helps us in so many ways that he fits us regardless. We’d love to have both of them here for a long time.”"
Signing Story had the potential to lead to a messy situation that would be damaging to this goal of paring him with Bogaerts for the next several years. Bogaerts endorsing the concept by reaching out to help recruit Story went a long way toward convincing the star free-agent that he would be welcomed in the Red Sox clubhouse.