After making his debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2016, All-Star shortstop Trevor Story has accrued six years of service time and is finally eligible for free agency... much to the chagrin of Rockies fans. Infamously not traded at the 2021 deadline, Story is set to depart from the only big league club he’s ever known once the lockout ends. I can’t predict where our beloved, ocean-eyed shortstop ends up in the 2022 season. Obviously the ideal scenario would see Story return to Colorado for at least another season. Neither Story nor Rockies general manager Bill Schmidt have ruled out a return, but a lot would need to go right for that to happen. In the (most likely) event that Story truly is gone for good, there are a few teams it would hurt me the least to see him suit up for.
The Seattle Mariners, sometimes affectionately referred to as the Rockies of the Pacific Northwest, are coming out of a lengthy rebuild under the guiding hands of GM Jerry DiPoto. In 2021 they were still playing meaningful baseball and competing for a Wild Card spot in late September, finishing with a surprising 90-72 record. As they emerge from the basement, squinting in the bright sunlight, they have already showed the world they are ready to compete and willing to spend. In the flurry of pre-lockout spending, the Mariners signed 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray to a five year contract worth $115 million. The retirement of longtime third baseman Kyle Seager has also opened up some infield flexibility for the Mariners depending on where they would want Story to play. If they want to keep him at shortstop, they could move JP Crawford to second base and have Abraham Toro play third base. If they want to move Story to second or third base, they keep Crawford at short.
The Mariners have the right mix of competitiveness, financial assets, and roster flexibility for Story to be a great fit... But it sure doesn’t hurt that they’re also my second favorite MLB team. If the Mariners bring in Story then they improve their chances in what looks to be an increasingly competitive AL West, but I’d also have an easy option to continue rooting for him. Consider this my number one non-Rockies landing spot.
Also beginning to emerge from a rebuild are the Motor City Kitties, who finished just under .500 in 2021. They have a lot of really fun young talent in their roster with the likes of Akil Baddoo, Spencer Torkelson, and a solid young pitching rotation. Similarly to the Mariners, the Tigers have also already made a few big free agent splashes. They signed infielder Javier Báez to a six year deal worth $140 million, and starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to a five year deal worth $77 million. Like the other teams on this list (spoilers), the Tigers are showing they’re willing to fork over the cash required to end their rebuild and compete. They also have similar flexibility in their infield for Story. Although both Báez and Story are shortstops, either one could be shifted to second base to make room for the other. This is especially true with Jonathan Schoop spending more time at first base.
I like Story to the Tigers in that they’re a fun young team in a division that could be up for grabs. I also have several friends who are Tigers fans, and honestly that fanbase has suffered enough in the last decade. I’m sure our friends over at Bless You Boys would be thrilled to have him as well.
This is where things get weird, because the Texas Rangers have already spent a small fortune on two of marquee middle infielders of the free agent class. The Rangers signed Marcus Semien to a seven year contract to the tune of $175 million after his absolutely excellent season with the Toronto Blue Jays. They then turned around and signed former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager (Kyle’s Brother) to a whopping 10 year, $325 million deal as a sign that they too were done being basement dwellers and wanted to compete for their division and more. Story would be interesting on the Rangers because they would have three of the major middle infield free agents. Someone is going to have to move. Seager has played a little third base before, and Semien spent most of 2021 at second base. Like the two teams I mentioned previously, the Rangers have an enviable amount of flexibility in their infield.
Story to the Rengers intrigues me for a few selfish reasons. I’d love to see him stay with Rockies teammate Jon Gray, who signed with the Rangers on a four year deal. I’d also like to see just how crazy the Rangers are willing to get with spending. If they sign three major middle infielders... why not add a fourth and get Carlos Correa as well? That would be a hell of a way to lure fans to their cavernous new
There is one reason and one reason only I would at all be interested in seeing Trevor Story suit up for the St. Louis Cardinals: a reunion with Nolan Arenado. Rockies fans know how lethal the duo of Arenado and Story are defensively. The Redbirds also have excellent defensive second and first basemen in Tommy Edman and Paul Goldshmidt. Their defensive weakness lies at shortstop, and Story would be an immediate upgrade over Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa both with the bat and with the glove. The Cardinals nearly swept the infield Gold Gloves in 2021 (though the Rockies’ Ryan McMahon was robbed) and honestly it would be fascinating to see Story plugged in as a massive booster. Combine that with 2022 likely being the last ride for franchise legends Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, and you can’t help but admit it would make for a compelling season.
Trevor Story vs Paul DeJong: Defense 2017-2021
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Former Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood is moving overseas to play for the NPB’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan. Chatwood played for the Rockies from 2012 to 2017, but control issues and injuries kept him from realizing his full potential. At 32 years old, he will look to find his footing in Japan. We here at Purple Row wish him the best of luck!
It’s not often you see someone lament losing a player to the Rockies, but the Fansided page for the San Francisco Giants suspects that our beloved Connor Joe could be the one that got away. The Giants’ Opening Day left fielder in 2019, Joe was a rule five pick that was returned after minimal playing time in San Francisco. After signing a minor league deal with the Rockies prior to the 2021 season, Joe busted loose and never looked back.
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