Trevor Story has been activated from the 10-day injured list after missing about two weeks due to inflammation in his right elbow. The 28-year-old Colorado Rockies shortstop has struggled this season and his uncertain future might have something to do with it. He's almost guaranteed to be traded at some point over the next few few weeks.
Story has been underwhelming this season, slashing .255/.322/.424 with five home runs and 23 RBI in 50 games. But the Rockies are awful and no one has forgotten that their free-agent-to-be is one of the best two-way shortstops in baseball. He should have plenty of suitors at the trade deadline.
Here's a look at the four most likely destinations for Story at the 2021 MLB trade deadline.
New York Yankees
The Yankees are at the top of this list for a reason, as they've been connected to Story for a long time. New York could continue to pretend Gleyber Torres is a shortstop -- and his woeful defense has improved -- but that's not where he belongs. He doesn't have the range or defensive ability to play there long-term. Story is a legit two-way shortstop and could sign on long-term to solve the organization's problems at the position that have plagued them for years.
This is the most likely fit. His presence in the lineup could help boost an offense that is 24th in runs scored in MLB and 10th in the AL in OPS (.700). The Yankees have to make this move if they're serious about contending in 2021.
Yes, the Phillies already have Didi Gregorius at shortstop but he's been hampered by a bad elbow and when he has played he's been a 0.0 fWAR player. Story's fWAR is 1.0 despite only playing 28 games this season. The Phillies also have the money to ink Story to a long-term deal and, with Jean Segura raking at second base, could attempt to move Gregorius this offseason or simply relegate him to a utility role.
The Phillies are currently 30-31 and sit in second place in the NL East. Their offense ranks 19th in the league in runs scored (252) and 18th in OPS (.698). They need a boost, especially given the pitching the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves possess. If they want to win the East, landing Story would be a huge boost.
Tampa Bay Rays
Yeah, I put the Rays on here for the simple fact that top prospect Wander Franco may not be ready for full-time big-league duty this season. He's obviously the future, but Story could come in now as a rental and help the Rays get over the hump as they contend for another World Series. Tampa Bay's farm system is also so deep that it could send the best combination of prospects to the Rockies of all Story's other suitors and still be loaded.
Taylor Walls is currently Tampa's shortstop and is slashing .245/.373/.388 in 17 games. Second baseman Brandon Lowe has been terrible this year, slashing .188/.298/.361. Adding Story and maybe calling Franco up and bumping him to second base for the remainder of the year could solidify a Rays offense which currently ranks 14th in baseball in OPS (.709).
The A's are another team that could make a shocking move to solidify their chances at a deep playoff run this season. Story would be a massive upgrade over Elvis Andrus at shortstop (.209/.261/.267) for the rest of the season. Oakland is currently third-to-last in shortstop WAR this season (-1.2), and second-to-last in OPS at the position (.543). It's the biggest hole on the roster.
This isn't the kind of move the A's typically make, but they have a one-game lead in the AL West and the Houston Astros are hot on their heels. Now is the time to strike in an attempt to win a World Series. Winning a title in Oakland could also galvanize support for a new stadium, so there are a lot of layers to this and a ton of reason why it makes sense.