After Carlos Correa's surprising signing with the Twins, veteran shortstop Trevor Story is the biggest free agent still available this offseason.
Given that the already abbreviated spring training is underway, the expectation is that Story will find a match soon. Speaking of which, MLB Network's Jon Heyman has the goods on which teams are emerging as the most serious suitors for him:
Trevor Story has multiple new suitors ss he’s the last great shortstop standing. Astros, Rangers and others have joined the mix. Red Sox and Giants have been in. One obvious consideration: He’d prefer to play shortstop.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 19, 2022
And last but not least:
Yankees have emerged a possibility for Trevor Story. Under consideration at least.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 19, 2022
Assuming Story is indeed committed to playing shortstop, that would seem to rule out the Giants, who are unlikely to move franchise legend Brandon Crawford off a position at which he still excels. As well, the Rangers have newly signed Corey Seager at the position. As for the remainder, they could likely accommodate Story's wishes. The Astros allowed Correa to walk and have a vacancy at the position. The Yankees have the recently acquired Isiah Kiner-Falefa at short, but he's hardly entrenched, and the Red Sox badly need a defensive upgrade over the otherwise highly skilled Xander Bogaerts. If Story winds up willing to man second or third, then that obviously widens his market.
As for Story, we ranked him as the No. 11 free agent coming into the 2021-22 offseason. Here's R.J. Anderson's write-up:
"If you scroll through Story's Baseball Reference page, you'll click away thinking his offense underwhelmed while his defense remained rock solid in his walk year. The truth is the opposite. Story's topline results at the plate were his worst in years, but his underlying measures (exit velocity and launch-angle bins) aligned with his 2019-20 campaigns just fine. The area where decline was most evident with his game was in the field, particularly his arm. He made nearly as many throwing errors last season (11) as he did the previous two years combined (12). Perhaps the offseason will allow Story to rest his weary elbow, yet some teams may already view him as a second baseman. (Heck, one team was reportedly interested in making him a center fielder at the deadline.) Factor in the lingering concerns about his home/road splits (over the past three seasons his OPS was more than 200 points higher at Coors Field) and the bloated shortstop market, and he might end up serving as the winter's Marcus Semien, settling for a pillow contract before landing the mattress next year."
As Anderson's notes, Story's uncharacteristic struggles in 2021 might prompt him to sign a short-term deal so as to re-establish his value and re-enter the market next winter on stronger footing. Such an approach could be appealing to win-now teams like the Astros and Yankees. From the Yankees' standpoint, signing Story to a short-term contract would allow top prospect Anthony Volpe to retain a clear path to the shortstop job in the future. As for the Red Sox, they've been loath to make significant payroll investments -- despite their vast resources -- since Chaim Bloom was hired as GM, and the idea of a short commitment might appeal to tight-fisted ownership.
Whatever the specifics wind up being, resolution for Story and teams interested in him could be coming soon.