Hardy on the trading block?

With the General Managers’ meetings going on this week, the buzz on Wednesday morning around the Orioles was a rejected trade proposal by the St. Louis Cardinals involving Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy. The report by CBSSports.com involved Cards pitcher Shelby Miller, and has spawned some reaction over whether the Orioles could –and should– trade Hardy.

First, I don’t doubt the validity of the Orioles checking in with the Cardinals, who have a wealth of pitching. The O’s badly need to upgrade in that area and it’s no secret that St. Louis would like a shortstop, which is why Hardy’s name would come up. But the Orioles aren’t actively shopping Hardy, who is in the last year of a very affordable contract extension, and would have to be blown away by a deal to move him. A Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner this year, Hardy is a huge part of what the Orioles are trying to do and moving him creates a huge hole in the infield.

Even IF the Orioles long-term plan is to move Manny Machado to third base, the 21-year-old is coming off knee surgery and that would create another vacancy at third. The jury is still out as to what Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty can do and the O’s already have one hole in the infield with the departure of second baseman Brian Roberts, who is a free agent.

Hardy’s combination of power and defense –plus his contract status–makes him prime to come up in offseason rumors this winter. But, as evidenced by the Cardinals’ rejection of the trade, it’s probably not enough for an impact pitcher and it would create a glaring hole in the infield. The anchor of the O’s defense, Hardy is one of manager Buck Showalter’s favorites, and I’ve written before that the organization looking into another extension –signing Hardy for another year or two– could be wise given that there’s no help on the horizon in the Minors and Hardy  –who has already committed to staying in Baltimore once before– has made it well-known how much he likes playing here.

The Orioles best avenue to upgrade this winter is to make a trade and they’ll explore a lot of the same names and available arms that they kicked the tires on around the July deadline, when they acquired Bud Norris. As was the case last year, don’t expect executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to put any of the club’s top pitching prospects on the table including Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez. Dylan Bundy would be a sell-low coming off Tommy John surgery and would be tough to justify as well.

 

2 Comments

The Orioles need to keep jj and give him an extension. We do need to find pitching, but find it some other way.

Defense and Pitching win championships. One without the other is a fruitless venture.
First the trade you mention the Cardinals offered is slight and significantly less that Hardy’s value.
Second Hardy is among those I believe should be extended this year (Weiters, davis, Tillman,…)
Manny’s injury is serious. It is a very good possibility he will not be at full strength any time this 2014 season.
I know some would think this heresy but I would use some of our pitching to buy a top number one young talent for the rotation (Chen, Gonzalez,…) These have held the fort but are not the inning eating and consistent pitching we need. Yes we will need to add something else too but what choice to we have. Rotation pitching is going to be the achilles heel in 2014 if we do not add at least 1. Gausman needs some more seasoning. Bundy will not be ready in 2014. He will need the entire year to recover.Rodriguez and Wright may be 2015 at some point.Some in the fans and media pint to Feldman. But like me I seem many in the sports talent assesment suggesting Feldman is not even a average talent. IF and I say it as imp[ertant IF the O’s are to have a top rotation they need not use other number 3-5 talent as their number 1 or 2 rotation talent. Patience is required but buying the right and necessary talent piece by piece is the only choice.

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