Story, likely the most impressive rental on this year’s market, will almost assuredly not be re-signing in Colorado (does anyone?), and the team appears to be warming to the idea of making this his final week wearing the interlocking C-R.
For most of this season, trading for Story felt like a Fantasy Baseball move for the Yankees and not a reality. His cost, though not exorbitant, would still be prohibitive in terms of the CBT threshold. His positional fit is imperfect at best…at least, on the surface. With the shortstop market opening up this offseason, was there really any benefit to sacrificing prospects for the additional half-year with this team?
All these things considered, it’s still starting to feel like the Yankees and Rockies could be on a collision course
Buster Olney — formerly very well connected with the Yankees’ old guard — started the rumor train rolling on Thursday night.
Seemingly, the rest of the rumor community caught wind of the connection on Friday evening, with Jon Heyman laying out the team’s infield construction and Mark Feinsand mentioning that, yes, the two sides are talking.
…Are the Yankees about to trade for Trevor Story?
Here’s the thing about shoving a shortstop peg into a round hole: sometimes you simply need to get good players and let the positional chips fall where they may. If any Yankee fan can confidently state that none of DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit will be injured for the August and September stretch run, speak now.
Is Story the answer, though? While excellent on defense, he both bats and throws right-handed. Though he has All-Star pedigree at Coors Field, he’s hitting just .243 with 11 homers and a 91 OPS+, a mark so low it can reasonably wave to Gleyber Torres’ 2021 season. In his walk year, Story has looked like a downgraded version of himself…so, actually, it makes perfect sense why he’s been so often connected to the Yankees in recent days.
There’s one additional nugget floating around that could be of interest: Story would ostensibly not fill the Yankees’ gap in center field…except for the fact that actually, yes, the team has reportedly had conversations about using him to fill that spot. Presumably not everyday.
Of course, you all know who will have the final say in these discussions: Hal Steinbrenner, with one eye on the financials.
According to Mark Feinsand, money (what else?) could be the sticking point here.
"Money could come into play, however. Feinsand notes that Story’s salary could bring the Yankees very close to the competitive balance tax (CBT) threshold, and it’s not clear whether New York would be comfortable doing that. The Rockies, meanwhile, could hesitate to pay down any of Story’s salary after paying a significant amount of Nolan Arenado’s contract before trading him to the Cardinals."
In all, a Story acquisition will probably be worth it. If the team is looking to upgrade even, say, the Tyler Wade spot, wouldn’t a struggling Story be a massive improvement? The context matters.
Rental position players — even ones as good as Story — always end up costing less than a knee-jerk-reacting public believes they will. Manny Machado was dealt in 2018 for starter Dean Kremer, headliner Yusniel Diaz (.186 at Triple-A), Rylan Bannon and Zach Pop, and that was a deal with a Dodgers team desperate to outbid the masses.
Machado’s future in Baltimore was similarly scrawled on the wall, and this time, there’s no obvious contender with a blatant infield hole for the Rockies to prey on.
The Yankees might not be a contender, but — say it with me — they know a bargain when they see one. The smoke is emanating here, and possibly from center field.