Blog Entry

Shortstops on the move? Hardy, Bartlett dangled

Posted on: December 8, 2010 5:16 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 6:12 pm

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

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.


Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: December 8, 2010 6:24 pm

Shortstops on the move? Hardy, Bartlett dangled

Could it be?  Is that the sound of Andy MacPhail truly building a roster with potential to do well under Buck Showalter?

All sarcasm aside, I am honestly encouraged by the events of the last week in Birdland.  First we pick up Mark Reynolds for a fair price.  He has the ability to anchor third base for the better part of the next decade and, although he cost us a potentially strong bullpen arm in David Hernandez, I don't think we can really complain.  The last time we had a consistent 30 HR player on the hot corner with a solid glove was... oh, that's right.  We've never had one.  When Ripken moved over, he was past his prime as a slugger and we were happy to get 20+ out of him.  Before that we took some chances with guys like Rick Schu, Todd Zeile, and B.J. Surhoff.  Before Ripken was a bird, Doug DeCinces had the potential but sputtered and was shipped out to California.  I can live with a .240-.250 average as long as Reynolds is smacking 30+ HRs and scooping up everything hit towards him and not embarrassing us-- not likely with what I've from seen him in the field the last two seasons.

Not like he's taking input, I would rather see MacPhail bring J.J. Hardy on board to play shortstop for 2011 and beyond.  I think his upside as a hitter is considerably higher than Jason Bartlett and he's not much lower than Bartlett as a fielder.  The biggest trick with Hardy is keeping him healthy.  With that in mind, if Hardy is the targeted one, we had better scoop up somebody reliable with the glove that will come cheap and be ready to play at a moment's notice.  Cesar Izturis is not what I have in mind.  Alex Cora might be a nice, inexpensive pickup or you let Robert Andino stick all year as the utility infielder.

Your 2011 Baltimore Orioles?
C -- Matt Wieters
DH/1B -- Luke Scott?
2B -- Brian Roberts
SS -- J.J. Hardy
3B -- Mark Reynolds
LF -- Nolan Reimold/Felix Pie
CF -- Adam Jones
RF -- Nick Markakis

Looks like if the O's pick up J.J. Hardy all we need is a steady thumper at 1B to steady the lineup and allow Luke Scott to rock the DH spot full-time.  Now, about that bullpen....

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