It’s been less than two weeks since Trevor Story sat in the San Diego visitors dugout, eyes focused straight ahead, as he described his emotions after the trade deadline passed and he was still in purple.
Story, like most of the baseball world, anticipated that he’d be off in a new city playing for a new club. Instead, here he was, still on the Rockies.
He received only a short call from interim general manager Bill Schmidt the day of the deadline, informing him he was still with the club but yielding no other information. Confused and needing time to digest, Story pulled himself out of the lineup the night of the deadline.
"That was a tough time, I can't lie about that," Story said Wednesday. "It was a little stressful. Actually, it was a lot stressful."
Story, a man of few words, didn’t want to cause a public rift between him and the team. He’s seen how that’s played out for other players in the public's eye, including close friend Nolan Arenado.
He was ready to move on to the rest of the season, he said. And Story, a testament to his words, has done just that. His numbers since that day have been his best of the season — he has a .416 batting average with 15 hits, including seven extra-base hits since July 31.
Story had two of the Rockies’ five hits Wednesday as they dropped their 42nd road game of the season to the Astros 5-1. They were one for nine with runners in scoring position, and left 10 on base.
"Our guys have been battling like hell trying to get a hit. It's not happening," manager Bud Black said. "If you look at our road averages, it's real. And we have to get better."
Story has free agency to consider, and his performance from the first half of the season needs to improve if he’s going to find himself a big contract. But also, as he said in San Diego, he cares about his teammates. Trading him, he knows, would have helped his friends in the future. But in the meantime, he could support them on and off the field.
His elbow, which he injured in May, could have been part of the reason for his lower-than average performance in the first half of the season. But he also admitted after the trade deadline that he may have let the stress and pressure get to him, which in turn impacted his performance.
That weight has been lifted now. He'll be here for the next two months, then free agency will take place after the season, a time when the stress won't impact his on-field performance. He's feeling the best he has since his elbow injury in May, and his body and brain are in check right now.
"Honing in on that, and trusting that, has helped me free myself up to trust my instincts," he said. "I just feel really balanced."
He won’t be here next season, and they are in desperate need of help at the plate, especially on the road. CJ Cron, who is also a free agent after the season, had one of those five hits Wednesday. He could also be gone this year, but has indicated he would consider staying. But Cron is on a minor league contract, and his numbers this season are some of the best of his career, which could earn him a bigger spot elsewhere if the Rockies aren’t willing to match.
Ryan McMahon and Connor Joe also each had a hit. With Story out of the picture, McMahon will be the de facto leader of the infield next year. Joe, who has been on the rise, scored the Rockies' only run of the series in the first inning off an RBI single from Cron.
Antonio Senzatela trudged through six innings for the Rockies, giving up nine hits and three runs.