Imagine you’re standing in the shoes of JJ Hardy’s representatives/agents at LSW Baseball & Associates …..
Better yet, just pretend you’re JJ Hardy, himself …..
As he’s approaching his 29th birthday and his first shot at free agency, rumors persist the Orioles are discussing a possible contract extension with Hardy’s legal team. Smart move on Andy MacPhail’s part, huh?
If you think a mutual interest might exist on Hardy’s side, given his agent’s willingness to enter such conversations with the Orioles, you might want to consider the potential reasoning for their participation.
What does Hardy’s side have to lose? The Orioles become the first team to show a distinct interest in his future services, and they probably lay the groundwork for the first bid on the shortstop.
Hey, the bidding has to start somewhere …..
But, if you take a look at JJ Hardy’s age – on the south side of 30 years, and the numbers he’s compiling on this 2011 season, there is little reason to suggest the player and his handlers will be inspired not to test the open market.
In the world of “what have you done for me lately”, Hardy has posted an offensive line of .307, with 11 homeruns and 12 doubles, in just 192 at bats. And, he’s committed just a single error in 258 chances.
I know, I know …. lock him up, Andy !!!!
But, it’s not that simple.
Does Hardy mandate a contract offer similar to Brian Roberts’ deal of 4 years/$40 million? Regardless of whether MacPhail’s intentions are to make such overtures, there’s a good chance the shortstop could exceed such a threshold when free agency commences.
The upcoming class of available players will be highlighted by Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes. And, there’s always the potential of JJ Hardy being a consolation prize for the clubs missing out on landing Reyes.
Thus, Hardy could benefit from being a subsequent alternative to the behemoth deal Reyes is expected to garner from a prospective suitor, weeks prior to Christmas. Such dominos have fallen in past off-seasons.
Translation: signing JJ Hardy to an extension is probably a difficult task for the Orioles.
And, if he doesn’t agree to a deal before July comes to an end, does MacPhail resort to trading his shortstop?
Such a consideration opens up an entirely different discussion and blog. But, the hard to swallow answer is probably “YES”.
Let the speculation begin …..