Thursday, December 2, 2010

The market for J.J. Hardy

What are we bid for
this 28-year-old shortstop?
On Wednesday I described the shortstop market as "trade-friendly." After publishing that opinion,  I started having second thoughts. Is it really going to be easy to trade Hardy? The free agent pickings aren't great, but who's out there looking for a shortstop?

So let's go team by team and see what their shortstop status is. I won't worry about what the Twins might get in a Hardy trade as much as what teams might be looking to upgrade.


Yankees: Only if the Derek Jeter thing gets so bad that the Yanks decide he's more trouble than he's worth. I don't see that happening. But if it does, this is not an operation that's going to plug a rookie into the spot.

Red Sox: Signed Marco Scutaro last year, now are said to be trying to trade him to free the position for Jed Lowrie. No trade here.

Rays: Ex-Twin Jason Bartlett, getting pricey, is trade bait; Tampa Bay has Reid Brignac lined up for the job. No trade here.

Blue Jays: Acquired Yunel Escobar in mid season. No trade here.

Orioles: Had Cesar Izturis last season. Shopping for a shortstop. Possible.

AL CENTRAL (in division)

White Sox: They probably like Alexei Ramirez more than they'd like Hardy. No trade here.

Tigers: Dave Dombrowski has a wonderful track record as a GM, but his moves this winter baffle me. One of them is committing to Jhonny Peralta at short. No trade here.

Indians: I like the idea of Asdrubal Cabrera more than the reality, but Cleveland is not in a position in which trading for established veterans makes sense. No trade here.

Royals: Yuniesky Betancourt may not be the worst regular in the majors, but if he isn't he's close. Still, K.C. is at least a year away from being in hole-patching mode. No trade here.

Elvis Andrus, according to
Baseball Info Systems'
baserunning analysis, was the
best baserunner among
major league shortstops in

Rangers:  They have Elvis Andrus, who is good and going to be great. No trade here.

Angels:  They may not like Erick Aybar as much as I do — he didn't have a great 2010 -- but I don't see them making a change.

Athletics: Cliff Pennington is better than I think he is, but that's not saying much, and Billy Beane is never afraid to make moves. Possibility.

Mariners: Jack Wilson, if he's healthy. Good glove, no stick. Hardy would be an upgrade. Possibility.


Giants: Complex. Jose Uribe and Edgar Renteria split time, and they won the World Series, and now Uribe's gone and Renteria's a free aent. They signed Miguel Tejada, who might play short or might play third if they decide Pablo Sandoval's not serious enough to be in shape. They might be a possibility, they might not.

Dodgers: They have Rafael Furcal and Uribe. Not in the shortstop market.

Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki is (a) the best shortstop going and (b) signed an extension that takes him close to Social Security age. (Not really, but it feels that way.) Not a possibility.

Diamondbacks: Stephen Drew isn't the star they expected him to become and starting to get expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if they traded him, but it wouldn't be to replace him with someone with Hardy's salary. Not a possibility.

Padres: Last year's surprise contender got nothing from Everth Cabrera and traded late for Tejada so they'd at least get some hits from the position. Tejada's gone, and now what? This is probably too low-budget an operation to go for Hardy, but there's a big hole there.


Starlin Castro hit .300
for the Cubs — at age 20.
Reds: Orlando Cabrera with help from Paul Janish. The O-Cab is probably on the move again. Janish is a glove. Possibility.

Cubs: Starlin Castro is their present and their future. No possibility.

Cardinals: Brendan Ryan looks good in the metrics, but didn't hit and had some run-ins with pitchers about his defense. They've added Ryan Theriot, who could play short or second. The Cards are like the Twins in this sense: They have an above-average payroll, but a few big stars are sucking up most of the money. I doubt they can go for a $6 million shortstop.

Pirates: If Betancourt isn't the worst regular, Rony Cedeno might be.  But adding a Hardy makes little sense for a team in their position.

Astros: Someone named Tommy Manzella had 82 games at short for Houston. He hit .224/.266/.262, so I'm guessing he's not the answer. I'm not sure they should be looking for a Hardy, but they might.

Brewers: They traded Hardy to make room for Alcides Escobar, and even if they think it was a mistake, they're not going to admit it so obviously as to trade to get Hardy back.


Phillies: Jimmy Rollins is aging, he had injuries, he's pricey. He's also very much part of their core. No possibility.

Jimmy Rollins was limited
to 350 at-bats in 2010.
Braves: Alex Gonzalez has the job and a year to go on his contract. I think Hardy's better, but they'd need to move Gonzalez. Not likely.

Mets: Jose Reyes is supposedly being dangled as trade bait. I don't think he'd getting traded, and if not they're not in need of a shortstop.

Marlins: Hanley Ramirez is their cornerstone player, for good and ill. Not a possibility.

Nationals: Too soon to pull the plug on Ian Desmond. Not a possibility.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the analysis, Ed. Looks like there may be a couple possibilities, but I think I'd rather see Hardy in a Twins uniform. I think if he can stay healthy he's not a marginal player by any means.