FORT MYERS, Fla. — A bunch of Red Sox players reached out to recruit longtime Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story when he was considering whether to sign with Boston.
Even Xander Bogaerts, the man he might soon replace.
“Bogie’s been amazing throughout this process of me coming here,” Story said Wednesday after the Red Sox made it official that he would join the team to play second base – for now.
“He reached out to me. We talked on the phone for a little bit. He didn’t have to do that,” Story said. “I think it just kind of shows his character and speaks to the kind of guy that he is. He wants to win. He wanted me to come here and that made me feel comfortable off the jump.”
Boston made its biggest splash of the offseason this weekend when it agreed to terms with Story on a six-year deal for a reported $140 million. The Red Sox were an unlikely suitor for the two-time All-Star, considering that they already have a four-time All-Star at shortstop.
But Story agreed to move to second base, providing stability at a position where Boston has lacked it since Dustin Pedroia was injured in 2017. And if Bogaerts chooses to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, Story gives the Red Sox a long-term solution at shortstop.
“Everybody here already knows how much Xander Bogaerts cares about winning, cares about this organization. And he showed it again in terms of this process,” Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said at a news conference at the team’s spring training facility. “You could feel it. He recognizes talent. You could feel how much he wanted to add to this group and how much he wants another ring.”
Story batted .251 with 24 homers and 75 RBI for the Rockies last season and is a lifetime .272 hitter with 158 homers and 450 RBI. In five major league seasons, he has never played any defensive position other than shortstop.
But Story, 29, said he played plenty of second base in the minor leagues and has some experience on that side of the infield playing in the shift. Because of the lockout-shortened spring training, he will have limited time to work on it.
“Playing second is something I’m comfortable with,” he said.
Another adjustment: moving from the thin air in Denver to Fenway Park. Story has batted .303 with 95 homers and 279 RBI at Coors Field and .241 with 63 homers and 171 RBI on the road.
“There’s kind of that stigma around Coors Field, that the ball flies, which it certainly does,” Story said. “I think baseball’s baseball and it’s played the same in every park.”
Bloom said the team pored over the analytics on the Coors Field effect and came away convinced that Story’s production would come with him to Boston.
“It’s always a hot topic any time a really good player from the Rockies changes teams,” Bloom said. “There’s a lot of good examples of guys who leave Coors and do very, very well.”
Although Story has played four games at Fenway Park, batting .222 with one homer and four RBI, he was eager to take batting practice at the team’s spring training ballpark and its replica of Fenway’s Green Monster.
His takeaway: “Usually when I hit a ball off the wall, I’m going to second no matter what. From what I hear, I might need to walk that back a little bit.”
Source: ESPN MLB