In the past, I would doubt the team’s ability to get a deal done, but I keep going back to Buck Showalter. This guy didn’t come here to rebuild. He didn’t come to Baltimore to acquire players like J.J. Hardy only to watch him walk away because of money. Hardy has become one of Showalter’s favorites, and when all is said and done, I expect him to be locked up in Baltimore for the next three years.
If both of these players can follow that path and become pieces to the long-term puzzle, the 2010-2011 offseason will look so much better for Andy MacPhail and the Orioles. They will have spruced up their infield with two young, talented players for the immediate and semi long-term future.
In a season of many peaks, valleys, highs, and lows, the emergence of these two players has served as a welcome sight for O’s fans across Birdland. If all goes smoothly for the Orioles, Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy will be patrolling the left side of the infield for the foresseable future.
If that does occur, give Andy MacPhail credit for once again winning on the trade market. Say what you want about the man, but he knows how to make key, low-risk, high-reward trades.
Bring in some key free agents, get Nick Markakis back producing, Brian Roberts back healthy, and this core may be good enough to make a serious run in 2011.
And Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy will be integral parts of that run.