It’s hot stove time. That time of the year when Major League Baseball executives get together and discuss ways to improve their teams. It’s the time of year when trade rumors surface and fans debate as to who should stay and who should go as they play GM.
There were a couple of juicy rumors relating to the Baltimore Orioles making the rounds this week.
According to various reports, the Orioles would be willing to listen to offers for catcher Matt Wieters and shortstop J.J. Hardy.
CBSSports.com even reported that Baltimore and the St. Louis Cardinals talked of a possible Hardy for Shelby Miller deal. According to Jon Heyman, the Cardinals told the Orioles they would not trade Miller. Miller, a right-handed pitcher, won 15 games for St. Louis and finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Orioles Executive VP of Baseball Operations said on Wednesday night that the Birds are not actively shopping either Wieters or Hardy.
Wieters, who is signed through 2015, has been unwilling to sign an extension with the club. The expectation is that he will hit free-agency when his contract expires. When that happens, you know that the trade buzz will be there.
Hardy, on the other hand, is entering the final year of his contract. He is coming off a season, at the age of 31, in which he won the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger.
His 71 homers over the last three seasons are the most by any shortstop in the majors and this year’s Gold Glove award was his second-straight. Hardy’s play at short is one of the main reasons the Orioles were the best fielding team–statistically–in the history of Major League Baseball in 2013. He is also considered one the team’s leaders and is respected throughout the league.
He shouldn’t be traded. He should be extended.
I know the Orioles are desperate for quality starting pitching and rightfully so. Their starting staff’s ERA ranked 27th in all of baseball.
But trading away Hardy would be a mistake for all of the reasons mentioned above. Let’s not forget the injury to Manny Machado, the heir apparent at short.
I have been told by more than one person: “If you think Machado is good at third, wait until you see him at short.”
Given the fact that the Orioles have the major’s best left-side infield, I’m willing to wait a little longer.
Hopefully, the Baltimore Orioles will give J.J. Hardy the contract extension he deserves and we can all wait a couple of more seasons, at least.