Detroit Tigers: Is Trevor Story a prize or consolation?
By Jacob Boes
Next in our Contender November series, we examine shortstop Trevor Story and whether he should be the long-term solution for the Detroit Tigers at the position
My, oh my–what a difference a year can make for Detroit Tigers fans.
We asked our Twitter followers on April 1st who they wanted the Detroit Tigers to sign to play shortstop next year:
Following the season, we asked the same question:
So, what has caused the souring on a premier talent? Welcome to our Contender November series, where we examine free agents, trades, and prospects that could propel the 2022 Detroit Tigers into a playoff team. We continue to examine the shortstop needs and immediate options the Detroit Tigers have to address the position.
Trevor Story is almost certain to leave Colorado–and with shortstop being one of the Tigers’ primary needs, it is possible Story lands the first 9-figure Detroit Tigers deal since Justin Upton in January 2016.
Who is Trevor Story?
A first-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies, Story was hardly an out-of-nowhere, burst-on-the-scene talent when he debuted in 2016. It was surprising, however, how quickly Story adapted to the big leagues after the Troy Tulowitzki trade the Rockies made with the Blue Jays at the trade deadline in 2015.
After a solid 2015 minor league season in which Story slashed .279/.350/.514 with 20 home runs and 40 doubles, he would put up a similar .272/.341/.567 line in his rookie 2016 year with a 4.3 bWAR; finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in the National League. With two home runs in his MLB debut, how can one argue he didn’t adjust quickly?
Since then, Story has been incredibly reliable and valuable; appearing in at least 142 games in each of his six seasons with the Rockies and supplying at least 2.6 bWAR in each season save 2020; where he appeared in 59 of 60 games and supplied a 2.5 bWAR. Story is a two-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger award recipient.
Story is now a free agent for the first time in his career entering his age-29 season and is primed for a raise from his $18,500,000 salary in 2021.
What Trevor Story would do for the Detroit Tigers
It’s a long-term solution for a position in which the Detroit Tigers have desperately tried to solve internally but have been unsuccessful. Willi Castro, Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King are all players who were acquired to be a potential solution for the position moving forward but none have panned out as expected.
A major question mark for Story, though, is whether his offense will translate long-term when away from the elevation in Denver. Story’s home and away splits in 2021:
The splits in 2021 are hardly a blip, either; Story hit .246 away vs .333 at home in 2020 and .260 away vs .328 at home in 2019. Could it be simply an issue of comfort? Or could it be that baseballs tend to fly anywhere between 15-20 feet farther on average in Denver?
Nevertheless, Story would still be an upgrade from the current corps and his positive defensive metrics would translate to any park.
The Cost of signing Trevor Story
Bleacher Report has Story signing for 5 years and $150 million, Spotrac, meanwhile, predicts a 10 year, $342 million deal for the shortstop prize, citing they expect him to top Francisco Lindor’s AAV with the New York Mets.
I see Story probably ending up somewhere in between the two; maybe somewhere in the $200 million range over seven years. The splits are certainly concerning, but the good news is there are plenty of big players in the market; with the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers all possibly looking for shortstops in addition to the Tigers.
Carlos Correa is the overwhelmingly popular choice among fans. A combination of a reunion with AJ Hinch and his solid postseason performance has fans excited, but Story shouldn’t be viewed as some slouch. He’s an excellent defender and his 85 stolen bases across the last four seasons would play into the Detroit Tigers’ aggressive style.