Trevor Story will be halfway through his six-year, $140 million deal he signed with the Boston Red Sox when the 2024 season comes to a close.

The Red Sox haven’t received a strong return on investment yet from Story. His first two seasons with the franchise haven’t gone to plan, with the shortstop unable to meet the heightened expectations that came with his sizable contract.

But with a healthy offseason under his belt, the 2024 season is turning into a massive one for Story because with a good year, he can completely change the narrative currently surrounding his Red Sox tenure.

Story had a lackluster debut season with the Red Sox in 2021 outside of a 10-game stretch in May when he tore the cover off the baseball, batting .333 with an eye-popping eight home runs and 25 RBIs. Half of Story’s home-run production that year came over that span as he finished with a .238 batting average and 66 RBIs in 93 games.

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But the Red Sox didn’t even get that out of him last season with Story missing the first four months after undergoing an internal bracing procedure on his right ulnar collateral ligament. He ended up playing in only 43 games, hitting .203 with three home runs, 14 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

Story didn’t have to worry about rehabbing this offseason and got stronger while serving as a mentor to the team’s younger players. And it’s clear the Red Sox have complete faith that Story can bounce back.

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“We have to understand the situation he’s been in the last couple of years,” Red Sox hitting coach Pete Fatse told reporters last month. “Obviously, expectations are high, as they should be. I think we’re going to see a guy closely resembling what he’s been in the past.”

It’s easy to envision Story getting back to the All-Star form he showed during his time with the Colorado Rockies. He’ll be counted on to be a key run-producing bat in the middle of the order while providing strong defense at shortstop. That in itself will be a major plus for the Red Sox after their defensive struggles in 2023.

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A strong season from Story could showcase to the Red Sox that he should be factored greatly into their long-term plans. It’s no secret that there’s much anticipation around when top prospect Marcelo Mayer will reach the major leagues and he happens to play the same position as Story.

But the Red Sox also don’t appear in a rush to fast-track Mayer, who dealt with a shoulder injury last season, to the majors. And Story delivering top-tier production could allow Boston to be patient with the heralded shortstop prospect.

Mayer in all likelihood will replace Story as the team’s shortstop at some point in the future, but that doesn’t mean Story would be without a role. As he transitions into the second half of his career, he could become a necessary leader for a young squad and hold down second base.

That’s still in the future for Story, though. For now, he needs to prove he’s the player the Red Sox gave a big contract to and focus on the season in front of him.

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After all, the 2024 season could dramatically shape his Red Sox future.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images