The Boston Red Sox have a Trevor Story problem and this is just the first month of his six-year deal.
The Boston Red Sox called their own bluff when they took a gamble and signed Trevor Story this offseason. For six seasons, he established himself as one of the best offensive shortstops in the game yet there were always signs that maybe playing half of his games at Coors Field contributed to his success. A curse for all members of the Colorado Rockies, one has to wonder if this was a reason why his market was light this offseason.
Through 24 games, 105 plate appearances, and a whole bunch of Red Sox losses those theories are looking true. Everything that could go wrong seems to be doing so for Story and Boston.
For some melancholic irony, the Red Sox were never meant to get involved in the free agent shortstop frenzy this offseason. Xander Bogaerts was under contract and not going anywhere—at least not yet. Then, just as it looked like the New York Yankees might find a way to sign Story, the Red Sox stepped in and signed him to a six-year deal worth $140 million. So far, it looks like a deal they would like some amnesty on.
Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story has gotten off to an unprecedentedly bad start
Story already has 35 strikeouts which accounts for 33.3% of all plate appearances. With zero home runs this season and a hard-hit percentage of only 35.6%, nothing seems to be going well. Even when he is making contact, the ball isn’t going fast or far. He is playing much more like a traditional middle infielder than the star he has been.
To make matters worse, the switch from shortstop to second base has turned this good-defending shortstop into a butcher with the glove. This could simply be a matter of Story playing a different position from the one he has his entire major league career. Even if second base is regarded as the much easier spot up the middle, there has to be a little bit of a learning curve.
However, the Red Sox didn’t sign Story for his glove. They wanted to put him in the middle of their order and provide some protection to the rest of the guys they were going to battle with this year. Instead, Story has been one of the biggest disappointments around. Unlike someone such as first baseman Bobby Dalbec, the Red Sox are committed financially to him for a very long time.
Story has been especially brutal through his first 7 games in May. In 31 trips to the plate, he is 3-for-26. He is slashing .115/.226/.192 this month. He hasn’t even been involved much in wins. Present for 8 of their 10 victories, Story is hitting .233/.294/.267 in those games with only a single extra-base hit: 1 of his 7 doubles. This means the other doubles he has have been somewhat hollow in games the Red Sox dropped.
If there is any consolation for Red Sox fans, Story has his worst career numbers in March/April. Now a lifetime .240/.315/.480 hitter in the first month of the season, he is at least now into his second-worst month: May.
The Red Sox are repeating a familiar pattern with Trevor Story
Does Story’s start remind you of anyone else? Pablo Sandoval, Carl Crawford, and many other failed Red Sox additions have gotten off to similarly dreadful beginnings in Beantown. Many of their tenures ended unceremoniously. Could the same thing eventually happen with Story?
Boston had a relatively quiet offseason for a team with their reputation. Story was the one major free agent splash they made. Unfortunately, it looks like they were fooled by their 92-win season from 2021 and the trip to the ALCS. They bought into the belief that not only did they already have enough but that they didn’t need to do what all teams should aim to do and that’s strive to get better.
The Red Sox are in a tailspin and have even fallen behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East—the ultimate insult. They’re lucky to not be in the bottom five of this week’s MLB Power Rankings. As much as they may want to convince themselves it’s early, these games count just as much as the final ones of the season.
The never-ending Story slump continues on. Until he starts hitting, they’ll find themselves sinking deeper into the pit of sadness.