Story embracing leadership role with Rockies

March 2nd, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Trevor Story learned Bryce Harper had signed with the Phillies, the Rockies' shortstop was pleased to hear the former National League Most Valuable Player would not be joining Manny Machado as a member of a National League West rival.

“This division is tough, already,” Story said with a smile. “He’s a heck of a ballplayer.”

Something else stood out to Story. Unlike Machado and Harper, who landed mega-deals as free agents to join new organizations, the Rockies’ biggest star had opted to forego free agency to sign a long-term extension with Colorado.

Even better, that was becoming a trend.

Nolan Arenado’s eight-year, $260 million extension came less than a year after the Rockies locked up Charlie Blackmon with a six-year extension worth $108 million, a pair of deals that will keep the two homegrown stars in town through at least 2023 if the players choose not to exercise their respective opt-out clauses.

“It’s awesome,” Story said. “It shows the Rockies want to keep our best players. Those guys earned that. It shows that we want to win and keep those guys around. Those guys are leaders, so it’s very comforting to know that they’re here for the long haul.”

Story hasn’t spent much time thinking about his future, and given that he’s under team control for three more seasons, there’s plenty of time for him to start concerning himself with such things. But the fact that Rockies ownership has shown a commitment to its own players is heartening to the 26-year-old All-Star.

“I think it would be awesome, but I really try not to let my mind go there,” Story said of a long-term future with the club. “That’s not really what it’s about. We’re her to win; that other stuff will take care of itself. I try not to think about it too much, but it’s encouraging and cool to see that the Rockies want to keep their homegrown guys.”

Sitting at his locker at Salt River Fields Saturday morning, Story spoke with the quiet confidence of a veteran in the midst of a string of All-Star seasons.

After taking a step backwards in 2017 following his impressive rookie season, Story bounced back in a big way last year. He ranked second in the NL in home runs, total bases and slugging percentage, made his first All-Star team, won a Silver Slugger award and finished eighth in NL MVP voting.

Three years ago, Story was the young kid in the clubhouse, looking to Arenado, Blackmon and D.J. LeMahieu as examples of how to go about their business. Now he’s one of the decorated players the youngsters look up to, a role he’s beginning to embrace more every day.

“The more time you have, the more comfortable you get leadership-wise,” Story said. “Obviously younger guys are coming up and I have a little experience, so if I can help in any way, I’m going to share that. I remember when I was a rookie, some guys put their arm around me and helped me a lot, so if I can look to do that for other guys, that’s what I’m going to do.

“I try to go out of my way to do it. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own routine and what you’re doing, so that’s part of being a leader. Looking for ways to help guys and being a little more vocal about it.”

Manager Bud Black has encouraged Story to take a leadership role, keeping an eye on him throughout the spring.

“From my role, I tell him where he is, his place on this team now, and it’s becoming more impactful,” Black said. “Three years ago, he was the younger guy with D.J. and some of the older players; now he’s becoming a guy with service time, an All-Star, some more national acclaim. You hope that your guys who are your guys sort of take that role, and I think he’ll relish that moving forward. It takes time to feel comfortable in those shoes.”