3:10 p.m.: Bloom didn’t provide a specific timeline on Story for the upcoming season, noting that a comeback is possible “but it’s not something at this point we want to bet on,” per Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. Bloom also said that Story was preparing to play shortstop before aggravating his elbow, per Spear.
2:50: Red Sox infielder Trevor’s Story underwent internal surgery on his right elbow yesterday, according to a team statement. Boston Red Sox infielder Trevor’s Story underwent a successful internal strengthening procedure of the right ulnar collateral ligament (elbow) yesterday,” the statement read. “Dr. Keith Meister performed the operation at the Texas Metroplex Institute in Arlington, Texas. Mass Live’s Chris Cotillo. reported the operation shortly before the official announcement and adds that Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom will speak at 4:00 p.m. Eastern/3:00 p.m. Central.
The club did not provide a timeline on the expected resumption of Story, with that information likely to be provided when Bloom speaks. Until this information is released, we can only speculate on the timeline, but it’s worth pointing out that the UCL is the same ligament that gets replaced during Tommy John’s surgery. The internal brace procedure is generally considered less invasive and gets players back faster, but the recovery period still typically takes months. For a recent example, the outfielder White Eli underwent the procedure while a member of Rangers last year, with the club announcing at the time that White was due to miss six months. Each player is unique and will have their own responses to different injuries, but it seems fair to assume that Story is set for any significant absence.
For Story, there have been concerns around his throwing arm for some time now. He made 11 pitching errors while with the Rockies in 2021, with some scouts expressing trepidation about that pitch after this season. Statcast’s new arm strength rankings ranked Story at 79.1 mph on average on his short throws, a mark that placed him 52nd of 58 shortstops to throw at least 100 that year. It was a notable drop from 2020, when Story was at 82.3 mph and ranked 22nd of 34 shortstops who threw 100 pitches.
Despite these concerns, the Sox signed Story to a six-year, $140 million contract through 2022. At the time of signing, Story was expected to play second base in deference to the shortstop. Xander Bogaerts, but he was also seen as a possible backstop for a Bogaerts departure. Given that Bogaerts had the option to opt out of his deal after 2022, the Sox would then have the option of dragging Story to the other side of the bag to replace him.
The positional change gave Story and the Sox a year to assess things, with Story making shorter pitches starting in second. He averaged 76.1 mph on his throws last year, which was another drop from the previous year and placed him 61st among 70 second basemen to throw 100 on the year. On top of that, the Sox did indeed see Bogaerts opt out of his contract and sign with the Padres this winter.
While Story’s timeline is yet to be determined, it looks like the Sox will now have to figure out how to navigate their midfield without Bogaerts or Story, at least for a few months. If the club decides to stick with the internal options, it could opt for Enrique Hernandez and Christian Arroyoalthough Hernandez seemed to be the everyday center fielder, so they would have to find a solution there. Jarren Duran would be an option to take over at center, although he struggled in 2022 hitting just .221/.283/.363. There are other infielders on the roster such as david hamilton and Emmanuel Valdezalthough they were only recently added and have no major league experience.
It is also possible that the club is looking for external upgrades. The best free agent options are all off the charts, assuming Carlos Correa facing the Twins is the one who finally crosses the finish line. Elvis Andrus, Josh Harrison and Andrelton Simmons are some of the midfield options still on the board, should the Sox decide to go that route. In the trade market, some players might be available, such as Isiah Kiner-Falefa of the Yankees, although a cross-divisional trade could be tricky. Amed Rosario Guardians has been mentioned as a speculative candidate, as has Nicholas Madrigal lion cubs. The Sox and the Marlins would have discussed Joey Wendle and Miguel Rojas in trade negotiations, so perhaps those discussions could be revisited in light of today’s news.
Regardless of the Sox’s approach, it seems fair to say they’ve been dealt a blow for 2023. Despite being injured in 2022, Story still hit 16 home runs in 94 games and reduced .238 /.303/.434. A silver lining of the surgery is that there is at least one explanation for the diminished strength in his arms. If the surgery is successful in repairing his ligament and he is able to get back into shape, he may be able to return to the shortstop position later in the year. Story’s contract runs through 2027, but he has the option to opt out after 2025, with the Sox then able to override the opt-out by setting another year and keeping it until 2028.