With his contract with the Colorado Rockies now expired, All-Star shortstop Trevor Story is expected to test the free agent market this offseason. What are some of the qualities he is looking for in his next team? Story shared some of those qualities in an interview in Phoenix just before the end of the season.
Once the offseason officially begins, it is expected that the Rockies will extend a qualifying offer to Story. This offseason, the value of a qualifying offer has been set at $18.4 million, a $500,000 drop from last season. It’s only the second time that qualifying offers have been less than the season before, a marker that the average salary was less in 2021 than it was in 2020.
While the Rockies are expected to extend the qualifying offer, Story is also expected to reject it as he looks around Major League Baseball for his next team. In a free agent class filled with quality shortstops, Story is one of the best available. He knows it, and so do other teams.
Here are 5 things that could sway Trevor Story to sign with another team in free agency
So what might interest Story in another team that he would sign with them and continue his career in a different uniform? Take a look at this quote from early October as the Rockies were finishing the season with a three-game road series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"“I’ve always said that winning is at the top for me, and culture and environment,” Story said. “Obviously geography. There are a bunch of different things that go into it, a lot of those that we will hold close to our vest.”"
Having winning as a key ingredient is certainly not a surprise, and there’s no question that the culture within the clubhouse can make a big difference.
“Geography” is an interesting word. As a native of Irving, Texas, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, could the Texas Rangers or Houston Astros (if they don’t come to terms with Carlos Correa) be part of a geography fit for Story? Could playing on the East or West Coast in more nationally televised contests make a difference?
In an article (subscription required) on Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Buster Olney mentions the Rangers, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Seattle Mariners as potential landing spots for Story.
There is another piece to the equation, however. For Story to be on a winning team, there has to be pieces already in place to make a winner.
"“I guess the roster as it stands at the end of the year and then just kind of going about and hearing the plan for the future I think is also very important to me for whatever teams may be interested,” Story explained. “Like I said, there are a lot of things that go into it and obviously it helps having that roster that’s pretty close.”"
The words “pretty close” could mean both in terms of camaraderie as well as playoff readiness. Can Story find somewhere that needs a shortstop to boost that team to the proverbial next level? We already discussed how after the Wild Card loss that could well be the St. Louis Cardinals.
There are those who believe Story’s time in Colorado is not yet done. Seeing what Story is looking for in his next team, do the Rockies have enough to convince Story that he can win in Denver? As the roster is currently constructed, that would seemingly be a tough argument to make.
With that in mind, Story will examine the options and see which teams not only want him but also which teams he wants. He has a list ready. Which teams are ready to check the boxes on it?