When the Boston Red Sox let Xander Bogaerts take his talents to San Diego, the plan in place was to have veteran infielder Trevor Story fill the void at shortstop until theteam’s No. 3 prospect, Marcelo Mayer is ready for the big leagues.
That was how it was supposed to go prior to the 2023 MLB season, but a right elbow injury to Story had the Red Sox without a pure shortstop at the position.
Whether it was Kiké Hernandez, Pablo Reyes, or Yu Chang filling the void, the Red Sox desperately need an upgrade that the position and the team is looking for Story to be that answer in the coming weeks.
Trevor Story could provide a major boost for Red Sox down the stretch
With the team somehow in the thick of the AL Wild Card race with a 51-46 record, the return of the veteran shortstop could be the story of the rest of the season not only because of what he adds defensively, but because he can add to the batting order.
"He feels ready, and this is more about him than anything else," Cora said, via MLB.com. "We're not cutting corners on the rehab. We just feel like right now is the time to go, and let's see how long it takes. This is not a one-week thing. We want him to get his feet under [him], bounce back after nine innings, all that stuff. This is just the beginning, but it feels good just to know that he's going to go out and play."
Since signing a six-year, $140 million deal with the Red Sox, the 30-year-old veteran has struggled to stay on the field, playing just 94 games in 2022 and having played no games so far in 2023.
A two-time All-Star with the Colorado Rockies, Story has the potential to put up over 30 homers and provide speed on the bases, a punch the Boston Red Sox offense can use going down the stretch. Just think about a healthy Story in the middle of that line up with Rafael Devers and Masataka Yoshida. Suddenly, the Sox would have a scary top of the order that could make life miserable for opposing pitchers.
Whether or not the team is buying at the MLB trade deadline, Story’s return as well as the return of starting pitcher Chris Sale will be welcomed additions. How impactful they are obviously depending on their rehab and how strong they come back.
Not to put a lot of pressure on Story, but if he comes back the player who rocked it in Colorado, the narrative does change for the Red Sox in 2023. Suddenly they wouldn’t just be a team flirting with a playoff spot, they could become a dangerous team in the playoffs even with some obvious flaws.
A player who can steal bases, rake the ball all over the field and play solid defensive shortstop, Story is a player believing in himself as he makes his way back to the field. He believes he can be the impact he was brought in to be for this ball club going down the stretch.
"I just truly believe I can still do it (play shortstop) at a high level," Story said during an appearance on the Baseball Isn’t Boring podcast, as transcribed by WEEI. "If I didn’t, I would stay over at second. I really do know I have a lot of good years in me over there at short. I’m not ready to jump off that position when I feel I can do it at a high level."
Red Sox fans are ready to see the Story who got the big contract in 2022. If he helps lead this team into the playoffs, he will be worth the money…and the wait.