First off, it’s absolutely fantastic to not have to include the obligatory phrase “MLB lockout” in the first paragraph of a baseball article. It’s been a while.
Now, free agency is here and the Dodgers, who are always willing to upgrade, are surely on the hunt for some roster upgrades. The starting rotation needs to be beefed up, but the Dodgers also need to replace Corey Seager’s bat in the lineup. One expert believes that the Dodgers could be a sneaky-good fit for free agent shortstop Trevor Story.
ESPN’s Buster Olney explained why LA could make a surprise move for former Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story on the Baseball Tonight Podcast. Olney’s reasoning is based on the Dodgers current shortstop, Trea Turner, not staying in Dodger blue beyond the 2022 season.
“I’m kinda watching the Dodgers on him Tim. I think there’s a strong sense in the industry that Trea Turner is a short-timer with the Dodgers. He’s not going to be a guy who’s with them beyond 2022. The Dodgers need a shortstop. Maybe that’s Gavin Lux. Maybe it is Trevor Story where he has an opt-out after one-year.”
Now, signing Trevor Story to a short-term deal with an opt-out after 2022 wouldn’t exactly solve LA’s long-term shortstop problem. That would mean that the Los Angeles front office would be risking losing not one, but two All-Stars in free agency next winter. There’s also the matter of asking Turner, for a second straight year, to play out of position at second base.
In a vacuum, a short-term deal for Story would be appealing, especially if LA doesn’t land free agent first baseman Freddie Freeman.
Story’s battle with elbow inflammation last season has given teams pause says Olney. It could also open the door to a short-term contract. The reporter did state that Story has been “throwing a lot this offseason”, but there’s still a fear he might “need Tommy John surgery eventually”.
He sounds like a Dodgers shortstop already.
Trevor Story by the Numbers
Story’s elbow injury clearly affected his offense as well. Last season was Story’s worst statistical season at the plate since 2017. The two-time Silver Slugger’s slashline sank to .251/.329/471. He posted the lowest OPS+ (103) in five years.
If Story is healthy, he could be an absolute force at the plate for whatever team he plays for this coming year. Since 2016, Story is fourth among shortstops in wOBA (.362), second in slugging (.523), and third in OPS (.863).
The Dodgers front office always explores every option, and Story would be one that will create a myriad of complexities. Luckily, the LA front office is adept at navigating challenging scenarios.
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