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‘The guy rakes:’ Slugging infielder Trevor Story to join Red Sox and slot in at second base

Trevor Story was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019 and has averaged 34 homers for a 162-game season.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Splash.

The Red Sox are on the cusp of their biggest free-agent acquisition in years. According to multiple major league sources, the Sox have reached agreement with middle infielder Trevor Story, who will come to Boston on a reported six-year, $140 million deal that includes an opt-out after the fourth season.

Story will undergo a physical before the deal becomes official. Red Sox officials declined comment on the agreement until it is finalized.

The Red Sox added a player with a chance to improve them in multiple dimensions, adding righthanded power, excellent middle infield defense, and speed to a team in need of all of those elements. After an offseason of moves meant to shore up team depth, members of the Red Sox were elated with the possibility of being joined by Story.

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“Hell of a player,” said center fielder Kiké Hernández. “He’s an elite bat. Not a lot of home run hitters go out there and steal 30 bags and I know he has that ability. We don’t have that many guys in our lineup that can do that. Not just his bat, but his baserunning can help us a lot.”

Though a career shortstop who, according to Baseball Information Solutions, has contributed 69 Defensive Runs Saved since debuting with the Rockies in 2016, Story, 29, will play second base for the Red Sox. Xander Bogaerts, who has graded as 47 runs below average in that same span, will remain at the same position he’s anchored for the Red Sox since late 2014. The pairing of the two could give the Red Sox one of the most impactful middle infield combinations in the game.

According to team sources, the Red Sox made it “100 percent” clear to Bogaerts that he would remain at shortstop. For his part, according to team sources, Bogaerts took part in the effort to recruit Story.

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“I’ve watched him a lot. That’s an exceptional talent,” said Bogaerts. “He’s definitely one of my favorite shortstops out there in the game today. … I played with Dustin Pedroia. I played with Ian Kinsler. Those two guys were Gold Glove guys. Obviously Story has that kind of capability also.”

Some shortstops find it difficult to fathom moving off the position. But the Red Sox gave Story considerable incentive to do so.

“There’s three numbers up there on the TV: 140,” said Hernández, pointing to a broadcast chyron detailing the terms of Story’s deal. “I think that puts the ego aside and allows you to play wherever they want you to play.”

Trevor Story's career statistics The new Red Sox second baseman has averaged 34 home runs and 22 steals per 162 games.
Year Team G AB R H Avg. OBP 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
2016 Col 97 372 67 101 .272 .341 21 4 27 72 35 130
2017 Col 145 503 68 120 .239 .308 32 3 24 82 49 191
2018 Col 157 598 88 174 .291 .348 42 6 37 108 47 168
2019 Col 145 588 111 173 .294 .363 38 5 35 85 58 174
2020 Col 59 235 41 68 .289 .355 13 4 11 28 24 63
2021 Col 142 526 88 132 .251 .329 34 5 24 75 53 139
Total 745 2822 463 768 .272 .340 180 27 158 450 266 865
SOURCE: Stats-Perform

Story is a career .272/.340/.523 hitter who has averaged 34 homers and 22 steals per 162 games. As is true of virtually every player in Rockies history, he’s enjoyed far more success at Coors Field (.303/.369/.603) than on the road (.241/.310/.442), but several former Rockies — from Ellis Burks and Larry Walker to DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado — have enjoyed considerable success after leaving Denver.

“This guy can hit,” said Bogaerts. “Put him on the moon, he’ll hit. Put him in Aruba, he’ll hit.”

Story is coming off a down year for the Rockies in 2021, when he hit .251/.329/.471 with 24 homers in 142 contests, a season in which he spent time on the injured list with an elbow issue. There was some question about how that might affect his market.

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But other aspects of Story’s offensive profile, including a career-low 23.4 percent strikeout rate in 2021 and significant pull-side power that should allow him to rain fly balls on Lansdowne Street, made him immensely appealing to the Sox. So did the prospect of adding an excellent defensive player to an infield that proved the leakiest in baseball in 2021.

“You’re going to be pitching to contact even more,” said starter Nate Eovaldi. “To have Bogey and Trevor up the middle, our team immediately gets a lot better and it’s going to be fun.”

Though Story will have to acclimate from shortstop to second, he has plus potential at the position.

“From seeing how athletic he is, versatile, I could see him playing pretty much whatever position he wanted,” said starter Michael Wacha, who had worked out with Story in Texas a couple of offseasons ago. “He could get on the mound, outfield, behind the plate, stick him anywhere. That guy can play, for sure.”

The Sox felt comfortable enough with Story’s track record and health to give him their largest free-agent contract, in years and dollars, since the seven-year, $217 million deal to which they signed David Price in December 2015. The $140 million commitment to Story is 10 times the previous largest guarantee chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom had conferred upon a free agent — a two-year, $14 million deal for Hernández.

Trevor Story agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal that includes an opt-out after the fourth season.Darryl Webb/Associated Press

“Chaim works in mysterious ways,” said reliever Matt Barnes. “Obviously you want to see [the Red Sox] make a splash in the market, right? Big-market team, kind of what we’ve done historically when we’ve got a good chance to make a deep run. So it’s definitely exciting.

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“The guy rakes. Defensively, he’s at the top of the list. I think anytime that you can add a player of that caliber and that quality, it’s only going to make us better.”

Story rejected a qualifying offer from the Rockies at the start of the offseason, meaning that the Sox will have to sacrifice a second-round draft pick to sign him. But they have an extra second-round pick in the 2022 draft as a result of their inability to sign 2021 second-rounder Jud Fabian; that pick (No. 41 in the draft) is protected, so the Sox are giving up a pick that would have fallen in the low-60s.

For the Sox, such a cost — on top of the contract — was worth paying to add Story to an infield that, along with Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Bobby Dalbec, could rank among the most offensively prolific in baseball.

“It’s something that will be really fun to watch,” said starter Rich Hill. “When you’re putting a lineup together, the architecture of the lineup, it makes it that much more difficult for a pitcher to navigate through it when you put a guy like Trevor in there.”


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him @alexspeier.