Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hardy, O's near extension? (updated)

(Update: The Orioles have agreed to terms with J.J. Hardy on a three-year contract extension for about $22.25 million. The deal is still "pending finalization of specific contractual language and Hardy passing a physical," but that's all just a formality at this point. The deal seems more than fair and is much less than what I figured Hardy would sign for.)

Although the Orioles continue to lose and then lose some more, there is other news going on with the team: J.J. Hardy has been seeking a new deal, and he may be close to signing an extension to stay in Baltimore. Via Dan Connolly:
The Orioles and shortstop J.J. Hardy continue to make progress on a three-year contract extension that would be worth between $7 million and $8.5 million per season, according to two baseball sources.

"My thought is that I still hope it gets done," Hardy said. "I know my agent and [Orioles director of baseball operations] Matt Klentak have been talking. I don’t know exactly where they are at or what they are thinking. If it gets done or not before the trade deadline, I don’t know what their thoughts are. But I still say I hope it gets done."
Hardy seems interested in staying with the same team for more than a year or two, and that's something the potential extension would accomplish (especially if he receives a full or partial no-trade clause).

But although $7-$8-plus million per season for a few seasons for Hardy seems more than reasonable, I just don't know if it's a deal the O's should be handing out right now. Sure, all teams want good shortstops, and Hardy is solid both offensively and defensively. But the O's are also terrible right now and need to be thinking about which players they can deal away to receive younger talent. Hardy, even though his current deal expires after this season, would likely net the O's a few nice prospects in a trade.

Here's another issue: Hardy is an injury-prone player, which is where most of his value is lost. When he's on the field, there isn't much concern that he'll perform. But the chances of Hardy not getting hurt again are slim, which could force the O's to deal with another Brian Roberts-type situation. Hardy doesn't seem to have as serious an injury risk as Roberts's concussions, but similar risk still exists.

For now, though, this isn't a done deal yet, and talks could break down at some point if Hardy wants more money or if the O's choose to explore the trade route.

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