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.
Earlier this week Tigers GM Al Avila said that his club was going to get “lean” and “efficient” and that their days of spending big money are over. Later in the week Avila said that they would not likely offer a long term contract to outfielder J.D. Martinez, who will become a free agent after the 2017 season.
None of those comments necessarily suggested that the Tigers would be conducting a fire sale or anything, and it’s certainly possible to get leaner while still competing. One would assume that the Tigers could cut fat in the middle but still head into battle with their superstars. But that may not be the plan. Buster Olney:
. . . the message being received from the rest of the industry is a dramatic shift for one of baseball’s oldest franchises: They will listen to trade offers on everybody.
Miguel Cabrera. Justin Verlander. Ian Kinsler.
Trading those guys would be a pretty big deal. In both senses of the term.
It would take a blockbuster-sized deal to move such players. Verlander is owed $28 million a year for the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 at $22 million. Cabrera just finished the first year of an eight-year, $248 million deal that will be paying him more than $30 million a year between 2018 and 2023, with an $8 million buyout for 2024. And that’s before the fact that both Verlander and Cabrera are 10/5 guys with full no-trade protection if they choose to exercise it. Beyond that Kinsler is a relative bargain at $11 million in 2017 and a $10 million club option for 2018 with a $5 million buyout. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton are hanging around too.
But for as big a trade would have to be if any one of those guys were dealt, it’d be a bigger deal in terms of team philosophy and direction. Cabrera has confirmed his Hall of Fame credentials in his nine years in Detroit. He’s the best player to wear the English D since Al Kaline and has been the biggest star in the organization for most of a generation. Verlander is nearly as important and nearly as famous. I don’t think it’s likely the Tigers will move either of them because the logistics of such deals would be mind-boggling, but even entertaining deals for these guys would alter the course of the franchise for years and years to come. It happens to every franchise eventually, but I don’t think the Tigers fan base is prepared for it to happen to them yet.
Still: the free agent market is thinner that it has been at any time in years and years. Cabrera and Verlander, if they could be had, would be the biggest splashes any team looking to improve could possibly acquire. Kinselr would be a big get for anyone as well. Al Avila knows that. Even if he’s not ready to part with his superstars, he probably owes it to his organization to at least listen.
Major League Baseball just announced the broadcast schedule for both Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) of the NLCS and the entire World Series.
There are no surprises here. The World Series games are all on Fox. The pregame show starts at 7:30 and the games themselves start just after 8pm Eastern Daylight Time, regardless of whether it’s Chicago or Los Angeles representing the National League. For some reason Game five of the World Series, scheduled a week from Sunday if it comes to pass, starts seven minutes later than all of the other games. Maybe something super exciting will happen then.