When reports broke last night that the Rockies were getting close to an extension with shortstop Trevor Story, I got a little excited to see what the deal would look like, possibly serving as another data point in the Cubs’ talks with Javy Baez.
Alas, it’s not a long-term deal, and instead just finishes up his two remaining arbitration years:
Shortstop Trevor Story and the Colorado Rockies are in agreement on a two-year, $27.5 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. It buys out the final two years of arbitration for Story, who will reach free agency at 29 as part of the vaunted Class of 2021-22.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 25, 2020
Story, who just turned 27 like Baez, is coming off back-to-back huge years (like Baez), and is set to be a free agent in two years (hey, like Baez!). He and the Rockies hadn’t yet settled on a deal for 2020 in arbitration (he requested $11.5 million, the Rockies returned at $10.75 million), so this deal settles that year and finishes off next year a little early.
Is there *any* useful context here for us as it relates to the Cubs and Baez? Well, I suppose you could say it sets an early price range for that final arbitration year, for which Story is getting about $16.5 million. He was a touch ahead of Baez on the arb scale this year thanks to better production in his career so far, so you could argue that $15 to $17 million should be the absolute top for what Baez could expect to earn in 2021 if he were to sign a deal today.
As we’ve discussed, last year’s Xander Bogaerts extension (6/$120 million, opt-out halfway) is probably the most useful template out there on a Baez extension, though I would anticipate he is looking to beat that one by a good bit. By the hard data, Baez probably shouldn’t fairly expect more than Bogaerts (indeed, there’s a pretty good argument he should come in at less than Bogaerts did, even after inflation). But as I think about Baez’s extra value – the star factor, which is non-zero when you talk about fans coming out to the games and tuning in to Marquee – probably accounts for something if you want to lock him up long-term. He’s on the cover of MLB The Show this year for a reason.
Maybe Story getting what he did for his final year of arbitration will somehow help spur talks a little more at the margins for the Cubs and Baez. Where I landed before still stands: six years, $140 million, no opt-out. DO IT, GUYS!
I included it because there weren’t a lot of Getty shots of Story and Baez together, but also because it just looks like a sweet picture where you know exactly what Javy was trying to do: