Hardy extension nearly complete
The Orioles agreed to terms with shortstop J.J. Hardy on a three-year contract extension, a deal still pending a physical and some other details, but one deemed nearly complete on Saturday afternoon.
The 28-year-old Hardy, who is making $5.85 million this season, will get a significant pay raise in the deal, which will net him around $22 million through the 2014 season, according to two sources. The Baltimore Sun first reported the terms of the deal with Hardy, who had made it no secret that he wanted to stay with the organization if a deal could be reached.
The two sides agreed to be moving closer earlier this week with multiple reports speculating that Hardy –considered the Orioles best trade chip – would be off the market. Part of the holdup in reaching a deal was the assurance that he wouldn’t be dealt at the Trade Deadline and he has a partial no-trade clause that will kick in beginning in 2012, the first year of his extension.
Acquired in an offseason trade with Minnesota, Hardy enters Sunday batting .275 with 13 homers and 33 RBIs and he has been one of the team’s best offensive weapons since missing a month with an oblique injury.
The extension makes sense for both sides giving Hardy, who has had trouble staying healthy, stability and providing the Orioles with a long-term solution at shortstop. Hardy has made just two errors in 63 games and with top shortstop prospect Manny Machado (who left Friday’s game with hip flexor tightness) considered to be about two years away, the Orioles would have been faced with finding another stopgap had they let Hardy hit free agency at the end of the season.
The Orioles have not confirmed the deal, although it is expected to be made official soon.