On extending Hardy

It’s been no secret that the Orioles would prefer to sign shortstop J.J. Hardy to an extension rather than dealing him at the Trade Deadline, a scenario that would take place only if the two sides can’t reach an agreement.

Hardy, who is represented by LSW Baseball, won’t sign a deal that’s any less than three years and, according to a Tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney, the two sides are talking about a contract in the $21-25 million range.

Hardy, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Minnesota, is making 5.85 million this year and will be a free agent at season’s end.

He’s never played with anything but a year-to-year contract and given that he has had an injury-prone career –most recently missing a month to start the season — signing an extension would give him stability. It would also help plug a hole for the Orioles, who are already looking at needing a first baseman, at least two starters and possibly other options at left field and second base.

Top shortstop prospect Manny Machado is believed to be about two years away, and if the Orioles are unable to extend Hardy they’d have to add shortstop to a long list of concerns. Either way, they will know before the Trade Deadline where thing stand with Hardy, although several recent reports have been positive the two sides can reach a deal.

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