O’s Trade For Shortstop Hardy

The Orioles have traded RHP Jim Hoey and RHP Brett Jacobson to the Minnesota Twins for SS JJ Hardy, INF Brendan Harris, and $500,000.

Andy MacPhail strikes again. When it comes to trades, I don’t know if theres another GM in baseball that I’d rather have than him. Not only can he trade established players for a haul of prospects like he did in the Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada trades, but he can also do the opposite like he did with Mark Reynolds and now JJ Hardy. The two relievers the Orioles traded in the deal, Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson, didn’t make my top 25 prospect list and they probably would’ve slotted in somewhere between 35-40 if I went that far. Hoey had a solid season after recovering from elbow surgery. He started at AA Bowie where he went 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA over 31.1 innings with 38 strikeouts and 17 walks before getting promoted to AAA Norfolk where he was 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA over 21.1 innings with 32 strikeouts and 17 walks. The strikeout rate is great but the walks are high and he’ll be 28 years old entering the 2011 season, not to mention he was terrible in ML stints in 2006 and 2007 with a 10.24 and 7.30 ERA respectively over 34.1 innings. Jacobson was who we got from the Detroit Tigers when we traded them Aubrey Huff near the end of the 2009 season. He had a good season with A+ Frederick, going 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA over 71 innings with 67 strikeouts and 24 walks but was repeating the league after pitching to a 6.30 ERA in 2009 and is old for the level at 24 years old. Each guy has a chance to be useful at the big league level but are more likely not to have impact at all.

The Orioles won’t lose any sleep over trading the relievers, especially not for our new starting shortstop in Hardy. After putting up with Cesar Izturis’ dismal offensive production (and it was offensive..), the O’s are getting a guy that is above average with the bat for the position. Hardy hit .268/.320/.394 with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 6 homeruns, and 38 RBI last year for the Twins but missed a couple months due to a bruised wrist that lingered throughout the season. Hes a power threat, having hit 26 and 24 homeruns in 2007 and 2008 for the Milwaukee Brewers respectively, and also hits alot of doubles for a shortstop (back to back years with 30 in ’07 and ’08). After those two great years Hardy had a terrible year in 2009, putting up a .659 OPS and getting demoted during the season, and was traded to the Twins in the offseason. He rebounded a little last year and should put up an OPS around .746 with the Orioles in 2011, which is his career average. Not only is he a big improvement offensively but hes also as good as Izturis with the glove, if not better. He has a very strong arm and good range. The best part is that hes only 28 years old and if I was the Orioles I would look into signing him to a contract extension, as hes currently set to hit free agency after the 2011 season. The Orioles also got Brendan Harris in the deal, who should compete with Robert Andino in spring training for the utility infielder role. The 30 year old was terrible with the bat in 2010, hitting .157/.233/.213 with 3 doubles, a homerun, and 4 RBI, but with very sporadic playing time over only 108 at bats. While hes not a great hitter hes not that bad, putting up a .701 OPS for his career average. Hes not a great fielder either but he won’t hurt you and he can play every position on the field other than catcher. Overall it was a great trade that completely revamps and improves the left side of the Orioles infield. Next we need to add a legitimate first baseman and our biggest needs going into the offseason will be filled.

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