The Yankees Are the Clear Trade Destination for Rockies SS Trevor Story

Abbey MastraccoContributor IFebruary 5, 2021

Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story follows the flight of his solo walkoff home run off Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Matt Albers in the 10th inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Trevor Story was the best, well, story in baseball in April 2016. The Colorado Rockies' rookie shortstop hit seven home runs and two triples, and he slugged .864 over the first 10 games of his career. He had an OPS of 1.183. The then-23-year-old hit six home runs over his first four games alone. 

It looked as though the Rockies would be a threat in the NL West. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu was coming off his first All-Star season, third baseman Nolan Arenado was in his early days as one of the premier players at his position and outfielder Charlie Blackmon was in his prime. 

Ultimately, Story and the Rockies fell back to earth. They missed the 2016 postseason, and manager Walt Weiss resigned. But then Colorado hired Bud Black and made the postseason in 2017 and 2018. It looked like the club was on the verge of something special, but that didn't last long. 

Now, LeMahieu is gone and so is Arenado. 

Arenado was traded earlier this week, in a move that exposed some deep-rooted issues in baseball and has at least one writer begging owner Dick Monfort to sell the team.  

Arenado's priority is winning, while the Rockies showed they clearly prioritize profits over all. Under non-pandemic circumstances, enough people go through the gates of Coors Field each year that the club can still turn a profit without winning. The Rockies have regularly ranked in the top 10 in attendance numbers when full capacity has been allowed, falling outside that only four times since 2010. The downtown ballpark and the summer weather attract an average of more than 30,000 fans every season.

Why bother spending to win when you can still make money off a mediocre product?

Baseball is broken, and Monfort and general manager Jeff Bridich are perfect examples of just how broken it is. But that's a whole different story. This story is about who is next to go from the Rockies and where he'll land. 

The next to go could be Story.


Why Story Could Get Traded

Dick Monfort is not a popular guy in Colorado.
Dick Monfort is not a popular guy in Colorado.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The coronavirus pandemic decimated the finances of most, if not all teams in the league. Coors Field's perfect location isn't so perfect in a pandemic when there are no tourists and no fans allowed inside of the stadium to begin with. 

But the relationship between Arenado and the Rockies eroded well before the pandemic hit. Arenado wanted the Rockies to build a competitive team, but that never happened because they weren't willing to spend the money.

Ownership cried poor after the World Series, which expedited the trade of Arenado and sent a signal that it does not intend to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers or the upstart San Diego Padres in the NL West this season.

Story is in the last year of his contract. He's 28 and probably the new face of the franchise, unless you count Blackmon's beard. But after the Arenado trade, Story is not optimistic about the state of the affairs in Colorado.

"I'm sad and a little frustrated to be honest," he told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post"All I can do is focus on playing the best baseball I can for my teammates and the fans. They deserve it."

It's unlikely that he gets traded before the season begins. The Rockies could get a better return for him if they move him at the trade deadline. Of course, there is always the chance they end up negotiating a long-term extension. But Arenado had a long-term deal, and so did Troy Tulowitzki before him, so Story may not even want to sign one with Colorado, where a bad precedent has been set. 


Where Does Story Fit?

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Story is a two-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger. He has a career slash line of .277/.343/.535 with an .877 OPS. He's hit 35 home runs twice in five major league seasons. His abilities to hit for power and run the bases well make up for drastic home/road splits. Story has suffered a bit of the Coors Field syndrome, but there is no evidence to indicate that he couldn't adjust at lower altitudes. 

He's also a defensive whiz with 45 career defensive runs saved and an 11.8 UZR, according to FanGraphs.

The Cincinnati Reds come to mind first, since they have a desperate need for a shortstop. The team's top shortstop prospect, Jose Garcia, had difficulties adjusting to major league pitching last season and could benefit from a year in the minors. 

The Oakland A's are also without a shortstop after letting free agent Marcus Semien walk. An acquiring team wouldn't owe Story quite as much if the Rockies trade him in the middle of the season, so maybe the A's will be looking for a rental, but that doesn't seem like a likely destination. 

There is one team that stands out among them all. 


It's Up to You, New York

Frank Sinatra said that if you can make it there, then you can make it anywhere. LeMahieu would probably agree with that sentiment. Although he didn't have home/road splits quite as drastic as Story's, he did have big gaps in his numbers and has adjusted to hitting outside Colorado just fine, winning a batting title and posting a .922 OPS across two seasons in the Bronx. 

The Yankees have young assets to trade for Story. They have Miguel Andujar, who seems to be out of place. He spent much of last season at the alternate site as Gio Urshela manned the hot corner. They also have Gleyber Torres, a two-time All-Star who may end up being as good as Story, but is not yet. Defensive metrics favor Story, but Torres would be a hard sell. He's four years younger than Story, he's still under team control for four seasons and he's highly valued by the Yankees. 

The Yankees also have top pitching prospect Deivi Garcia to use as a trade chip. Any package to the Rockies would probably have to start with players like Garcia and Andujar, as well as salary relief since it would put the Yankees over the $210 million luxury-tax line. The club has been hesitant to go over that in recent seasons. 

Story would significantly improve the Yankees' chances in a deep AL East next season. If Story is the next in the Colorado exodus, then New York may be where he's headed.