Xander Bogaerts and Kiké Hernandez happy to see Trevor Story join the Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Florida — Xander Bogaerts’ The shirt was drenched and sweat poured down his brow as he entered the Red Sox clubhouse from the practice field on Sunday morning.

A crowd has formed around his locker.

“What’s up guys?” He asked.

The Red Sox agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with the shortstop Trevor’s Story, but Bogearts had not yet found out.

“I have no information,” he said. “We were on the pitch earlier. So I just arrived. I mean, when something is official, you know, I think it’s better to talk about it.

Since the opening of spring training, the biggest story at JetBlue Park concerns Bogaerts, who can opt out of his friendly contract after 2022. Would he sign an extension? Would he stay at shortstop? What if the Sox signed Carlos Correa or Story, two of the best defensive shortstops in the game?

Bogaerts politely answered questions for over a week.

“I think the more things you worry about, it drags you down,” he said. “You get carried away, so I try not to think about that stuff. I play baseball. I’m not in the front office or making those kinds of decisions. But Story is a great player. So that’s all I have to say.

It seems likely that Story has been signed to play second base, although the Sox have yet to comment on the deal as of Sunday morning.

Since entering the major leagues in 2013, Bogaerts’ .978 field percentage is near the top. History is at .979, Andrelton Simmons is at .980, Jose Iglesias is at .981 and, a few places higher, Freddy Galvis leads all major leaguers with a mark of .983.

Advanced metrics look different. Story ranks third with 69 defensive runs recorded during that span. Bogaerts ranks 20th with less than 47 defensive points recorded.

Neither field percentage nor forward metrics tell the whole story when measuring defense, which relies more on instinct, preparation, decision-making and game awareness than pure speed or strength. .

The Red Sox have been adamant that Bogaerts is good enough at the position, and they’ve won two World Series with him on the roster. Removing him from shortstop now, a year before he is eligible for free agency, would be questionable. He makes $20 million a year, well below market value, and would likely make north of $30 million a season if he became a free agent.

Defense gets an upgrade

Around the clubhouse, Red Sox players were delighted to hear the news.

“It’s exciting to watch him play and have him behind you, especially for me as I throw and score for us,” the opening-day starter said. Nathan Eovaldi. “Our line-up is already extremely talented and adding another piece like this will only make us better.”

With Bogaerts and Story in the middle, the Sox should have the best defensive field since Dustin Pedroia was playing second base.

“You’re going to cast to contact even more,” Eovaldi said. “You’ve seen it all Kike (Hernandez) was able to do last year in center field. You also have Jackie (Bradley Jr.) there too. We know how talented they are. And then you’ll have Bogey and Trevor in the middle. Our team improves immediately.

integrate

Newly acquired right-hander Michael Wacha said he worked with Story in Fort Worth, Texas during the offseason a few years ago.

“I could see how explosive and athletic he is in the gym,” Wacha said of the 6-foot-2, 213-pound shortstop. “He jumps out of the gym and makes everything look really easy. I can see how that translates on the pitch and how successful he is… He was very calm, down to earth, cold, but he took it on every day.

Eovaldi stressed the importance of signing Story now and giving him more than two weeks to settle into the clubhouse.

“We’ll have plenty of time to get together and have that bond with him,” Eovaldi said. “He’s going to fit in perfectly. I remember when I was first traded here, that was how it was for me. The other guys have welcomed me and the Red Sox are a very family organization and I think that helps a lot.

Kike gets a full-time job

With Story likely at second base, that should mean Hernandez will become the everyday center fielder.

“I’m always looking forward to playing one position, settling into one position,” Hernandez said. “I’ve never been able to play in one place… It allows me to settle in the center and I hope I can do what I did last year and I hope I can do it again better.”

Hernandez went from shortstop to second base once and said he didn’t expect it to be too difficult.

“It might be a little different at the start, but I’ve always said if you can play shortstop, you can play anywhere,” he said. “I saw him play. He is sporty. He’s good at that. I have no doubt he will be able to make a smooth transition to second base.

When asked if it would be hard on someone’s ego to leave the shortstop, Hernandez pointed to the TV screen, where the MLB Network hosts were discussing the signing, and said “There’s three numbers up there on the TV: 140 (million dollars). I think that puts the ego aside and lets you play where they want you to play.

Outfield alignment

If Hernandez is in the center, Alex Verdugo will likely be in left field and the Sox can mess around in right field, where they can use a variation of Bradley, Jarren Duran and maybe a right-handed outfielder they haven’t acquired yet.

It also looks like they will be experimenting Bobby Dalbec and Christian Arroyo in the outfield.

“I welcome everything, I’m just blessed to have this opportunity to play this game that I love to play,” Arroyo said. “Move or whatever, I’m excited.”

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