Red Sox News: Trevor Story Signing Makes Xander Bogaerts’ $80 Million Decision Painfully Obvious

The Boston Red Sox were forced to watch their fellow American League East rivals load up over the offseason. But Boston finally joined the fun on Sunday, inking former Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story to a six-year deal worth $140 million.

Story is a big bat who will slide over to second base due to the presence of shortstop Xander Bogaerts. In theory, the duo should give the Sox one of the strongest middle infields in baseball. However, there’s now a high likelihood the pair won’t be together for long.

Trevor Story is the new starting 2B for the Red Sox

After striking out on Freddie Freeman, the Red Sox were forced to settle for Story. The 29-year-old has a player option after his fourth year, but the club can opt him back in and add a seventh season, which would bring the overall value of the contract to $160 million over seven years.

Since making his MLB debut with Colorado in 2016, Story has been one of the better offensive shortstops in baseball. The Texas native joins Boston with a career slash line of .272/.340/.523 with an average of 34 home runs and 98 RBI over a 162-game season.

Story made his first of two All-Star Games in 2018 and finished top-12 in MVP voting each of the next three seasons. However, the veteran saw an overall decline in 2021, hitting just .251 with an OPS+ of 103, just barely above league average. The worst of it came on the road, as he slashed .203/.292/.426 outside of the hitter’s haven that is Coors Field.

With Bogaerts firmly entrenched at short, the former Rockie will easily shift over to second base to replace the platoon of Kike Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, and Marwin Gonzalez.

Xander Bogaerts seems like a lock to test free agency

Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts throws the baseball during warm-ups.
Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox warms up before Game 6 of the ALCS. | Michael Starghill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Boston was never an obvious fit for any of the premier free-agent shortstops this offseason. That’s because Bogaerts has manned the position on a near-daily basis since 2014.

The 29-year-old has slashed .290/.353/.459 across nine big-league seasons. X has an elite bat, evident by his four Silver Sluggers, and enough pop to slide into the middle of Boston’s solid lineup. He’s also finished inside the top-17 in MVP voting over the last four years, including a fifth-place finish in a career-best 2019.

In other words, Bogaerts is a player who could get a lot of money on the open market. Money that the Red Sox may now be less inclined to pay.

At the start of the 2019 season, Xander inked a six-year, $120 million extension that pays him an even $20 million a year through 2026. However, the three-time All-Star has a player option after this season. Meaning if Bogaerts wants to, he can opt out of the remaining four years and $80 million on his contract in order to pursue a larger free-agent deal on the open market.

That’s not to say the Red Sox couldn’t re-sign their All-Star shortstop. But this is the same front office that traded franchise cornerstone Mookie Betts rather than re-signing him. With team president Chaim Bloom not one to go on massive spending sprees, it feels like the Sox are setting themselves up to lose Bogaerts after the season and shift the defensively-superior Story over to his natural position in 2023.

Extending another homegrown star may also take precedent over re-signing Bogaerts

Assuming he has another productive season, Bogaerts is sure to receive a contract far greater than the one he’s currently playing under. So the Red Sox have to be smart with their money, especially since another star is due for a massive payday in the near future.

At 25 years old, Rafael Devers is in the conversation as one of baseball’s top offensive third basemen. The youngster finished an impressive 2021 with a slash line of .279/.352/.538 and a career-high 38 homers, along with 113 RBI and 101 runs scored.

Devers has two years under team control remaining before hitting free agency after 2023. The Red Sox want to do everything they can to make sure he doesn’t get there. For a player of his caliber, an extension pushing or exceeding $200 million isn’t out of the question.

Extending Devers, of course, means less money is available for Bogaerts. Add that to the fact Story is now in the picture, and Red Sox fans should start preparing for X’s Fenway Park swan song in 2022.

All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.

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