LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Indications are that at least one shortstop will be dealt by night's end as the Minnesota Twins continue shopping J.J. Hardy and the Tampa Bay Rays work toward moving Jason Bartlett multiple sources tell CBSSports.com.
The Twins are talking with both the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates on Hardy in a deal that sources said could happen by the end of the day Wednesday. Both the O's, who acquired third baseman Mark Reynolds from Arizona earlier this week, and the Pirates have been scouring the market for a shortstop.
Hardy, who batted .268 with six homers and 38 RBIs in 101 games for the Twins in 2010, became expendable when Minnesota won negotiating rights to Japanese free agent shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka. The Twins are expected to sign the middle infielder to a three-year deal worth between $9 and $12 million soon.
The Twins are looking for pitchers in return for Hardy and, according to the Baltimore Sun, would receive a couple of minor-league pitchers from the Orioles in return for Hardy. A wrist injury knocked Hardy out for nearly two months last season. He earned $5.1 million in 2010 and, arbitration-eligible, will earn more in 2011.
Bartlett, 31, is coming off of a very disappointing season and, as the Rays look to cut payroll, will give way to Reid Brignac at shortstop in 2011. Bartlett earned $4 million in 2010 and is due more through arbitration in 2011. He batted .254 with four homers and 57 RBIs in 2010, his third full season in Tampa Bay after the Rays acquired him, along with right-hander Matt Garza, from the Twins in the Delmon Young trade.
Talks between the Orioles and Rays for Bartlett have run alternately hot and cold this week. Tampa Bay is looking for relief pitchers to patch a bullpen decimated by free agency this winter.
The Pirates and San Diego have been talking to the Rays as well. The Padres desperately need middle infielders and they have surplus relief pitching that Tampa Bay is requiring.