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March 22, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Fort Report: Red Sox sign Trevor Story and spring training begins


Baseball is back as spring training action began in Jet Blue Stadium as well as continued on the backfields. Action is ramping up as the regular season for the Major League team will begin on April 7th. Despite the lockout, the minor league baseball calendar goes unchanged (unaffected by the CBA) which leads off with the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox opening their season on the road on April 5th.

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Transactions

Red Sox sign infielder Trevor Story to six-year, $140 million deal

Obviously, the biggest news up and down the system this week was that the Red Sox and Chaim Bloom made the largest free-agent signing by the Red Sox since David Price in 2016, signing former Colorado shortstop Trevor Story. Current Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who has spent his entire professional career with the Red Sox since signing as an international free agent in 2009 out of Aruba,  is presumed to be the most affected. Bogaerts is expected to remain at shortstop in 2022, after which he has an opt-out clause in his contract. If he does not opt-out (unlikely due to the current market for shortstops), he would be signed with the team through 2026.

With Bogaerts having a firm grasp on shortstop, at least for 2022, it is expected that Story will play second base. This move could then impact two top-10 prospects in the organization who both play second base, third-ranked Nick Yorke (pictured, right), and fifth-ranked Jeter Downs. Yorke raised eyebrows at the alternative site during the 2020 canceled minor league season and then raked in 2021 at two levels, finishing the year hitting a combined .325/.412./516. His stock is on the rise and as one can see on the SoxProspects.com 2022 Roster Projections page, Yorke is expected to begin the year back in Greenville. Downs meanwhile, went the other way in 2021, having a down year hitting only .191/272/333 at Triple-A. Story has never played any position as a major leaguer other than shortstop so we can't even be sure if second base is his long-term position as a Red Sox. 

One other effect this could have would be if Bogaerts chooses to opt-out and Story moves back to shortstop. In that scenario, it could be 2021 fourth overall pick and second-ranked prospect Marcelo Mayer who could be affected. Both Mayer and Yorke are only 19 and Downs is coming off a down year, and it is easy to see how this move could affect any of the three or none of them. But it will certainly be something to keep an eye on as things develop.

The unquestionable impact this has on the Red Sox is that they will lose their 2022 second-round draft pick (and the associated draft pool amount) as a result of the signing.

Red Sox sign relivers Jake Diekman and Hansel Robles

After the Matt Strahm signing last week, the Red Sox again bolstered their bullpen with another lefty, signing Jake Diekman to a two-year deal. The 35-year-old pitched and occasionally closed for the Oakland Athletics last season, going 3-3 with seven saves. s a 3.86 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 83 strikeouts, and 34 walks over 60 and 2/3 innings. Hansel Robles was acquired from Minnesota for righty Alex Scherff on July 30th last year and pitched far better for Boston with a 3.60 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Travis Shaw and Deivy Grullon return on minor league deals 

The Red Sox agreed to minor league deals with infielder Travis Shaw and catcher Deivy Grullon this week and extended non-roster invitations to spring training to both. Shaw was originally drafted by the Red Sox - twice actually- first in the 32nd round in 2008 and then again in the ninth round in 2011 and eventually traded him to Milwaukee. Boston claimed him off waivers in August of last year and he had a .843 OPS over 28 games to end the year. Grullon spent the past season at Triple-A for three different organizations and now returns to Boston where he played in 2020, eventually making it up to the majors for a single game cup of coffee. 

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Key Links

MLB.com released their top 100 prospects rankings on Thursday and two of the Red Sox cracked the top 20 - Mayer at 14 and first baseman Triston Casas at 16. Joining them were Yorke at 55 and outfielder Jarren Duran at 85.

Righty Tanner Houck (pictured, left) got to know the highways between Worcester and Boston quite well as he shuffled between Triple-A and the majors last year. The 24th overall pick in the 2017 draft by Boston will have an opening day slot in the rotation after the injury to Chris Sale as Julian McWilliams writes for the Boston Globe.

There is a lot to digest from the Trevor Story signing as detailed above, and The Athletic's Jen McCaffrey takes you through the ramifications of the signing with more of a focus on the impact on the big league team.

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Where are they now?

Outfielder Kyle Schwarber signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a four-year, $79 million deal this week. The Red Sox traded for Schwarber on July 29th last year in exchange for right-handed prospect Aldo Ramirez. Ramirez was having a tremendous season with a 2.03 ERA and 1.13 WHIP at the time of the trade but struggled after going to Washington, allowing 7 earned runs on 7 2/3 innings. Schwarber meanwhile improved on his impressive start to the year, ultimately hitting .291/.435/.522 with seven home runs for the Red Sox. 

34-year-old Chris Herrmann signed with the Washington Nationals this week. The former sixth-rounder played for Worcester last season, seeing time at first base, right field, and catcher, and hit .222/.328/.431 over 153 at-bats. 

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Photo Credit: Nick Yorke and Tanner Houck by Kelly O'Connor.

Will Woodward is a Co-Owner and Senior Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.