UPDATE: The deal is now official. Hardy, Brendan Harris, and $500,000 in cash for Hoey and Jacobson.
The Orioles are trade-happy.
Not satisfied with acquiring Mark Reynolds from the Diamondbacks on Monday, they are now a couple of routine physicals away from landing shortstop J.J. Hardy and utility infielder Brendan Harris from the Twins.
This all comes via Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, who suspects that pitchers Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey will be shipped to Minnesota in return.
Jacobson, 24, posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 71 innings this year at high Single-A Fredrick. He’s a promising 6-foot-6 righty, and could be throwing middle relief innings for the big league Twins in a season-and-a-half. Hoey, a 27-year-old right-hander, had 32 strikeouts in 21.1 innings this year at Triple-A. He has a bit of experience in the majors and may be ready for another look.
That’s not a package that is going to make a dent in the Orioles’ farm system. Jacobson and Hoey might become nice relievers, but Baltimore did well here.
It wasn’t long ago that Hardy was a highly productive shortstop. He had down years in 2009 and 2010, but he slugged 24 homers in 2008 and he doesn’t turn 29 years old until next August. Maybe things will be better for him in Baltimore.
Harris is a throw-in. He’s 30 years old and had a 446 OPS across 108 at-bats this year. Minnesota was his seventh organization — if the trade goes through as it’s being reported Baltimore will be his eighth.
The Twins were looking to trade Hardy this winter in order to avoid the nearly $7 million that he stands to earn next season via salary arbitration. They still need to pay Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka and have been considering retaining free agent starter Carl Pavano. If Hardy’s salary is moved to the Orioles’ pockets, it’s game on with Pavano.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).