And just like that, it was down to two premium shortstop options for the 2022 New York Yankees.
In recent days, New York’s interest in Corey Seager has become glaringly obvious. The only question remaining is whether they end up taking home their desired prize, or if this becomes yet another chase where the team’s pursuit ended up so obvious that talks soured when the player’s camp viewed a union as an inevitability (Patrick Corbin, anyone?).
According to the latest sourced rumors, Seager will likely be a Yankee (per Jeff Passan), and the contract will cost about $300 million for between 10 and 12 years. That leaves Carlos Correa and Trevor Story (and Marcus Semien, we guess) on the outside looking in.
Correa’s case is easy — he’ll likely demand the most money of anyone in the grouping, and he’s also got unsavory Houstonian elements attached to his backstory. Wouldn’t take me personally out of his market, but I’m not in the Yankees’ clubhouse and can’t judge what sways their decision-making in that particular arena.
Story? He certainly seemed like a fit around the 2021 trade deadline, but ended up staying in Colorado and moping instead. Compared to Seager and Correa, he could be a “bargain,” but there are newfound injury questions. There’s also always been a lot of swing-and-miss (and Coors) in his game, despite above-average defense.
According to Yankees insider Bryan Hoch in a Wednesday night Q&A, all of that adds up to a profile the Yanks are moving toward passing on.
The Yankees may be souring on Trevor Story.
Story was a legitimate top-15 MVP finisher from 2018-2020, pairing remarkably similar offensive numbers (OPS+ of 127, 120 and 120) with well-regarded defense.
In his contract year of 2021, though, he tailed off. His OPS+ was a barely-above-average 103. His defense began to slip, due in part to elbow inflammation that echoed the injury he also suffered on a throw to first back in 2018. Is it possible the end-of-May injury threw off his entire season? Sure. But the Yankees are already banking on that being the case for DJ LeMahieu, and probably don’t want to throw another $230 million at the concept of hoping for the best.
Also, as silly as this sounds … if part of the shortstop “plan” involves somebody moving to third down the line to accommodate rising prospects, signing the player who might not be able to make the throw with a balky elbow is probably a bad idea.
As of now, it seems the St. Louis Cardinals are in the lead on Story, intending to reunite him with his old Rockies teammate Nolan Arenado.
If the latest reports are to be believed, the Yankees have every intention of keeping it that way while they look elsewhere.