J.J. Hardy homers to remind Twins of mistake they made letting him go

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Last night the Twins were reminded of their biggest offseason mistake when Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy homered in his return to Minnesota.

Hardy, who was traded for a pair of mid-level prospects after the Twins decided they wanted to add more “speed” to the middle infield, now has 24 homers for the Orioles, which is the most by an AL East shortstop since Miguel Tejada back in 2006.

Hardy has 24 homers in 383 at-bats while the Twins’ entire infield, including everyone to play first base, second base, shortstop, or third base, has 37 homers in 2,328 at-bats. And their shortstops have hit .233 with three homers.

Ron Gardenhire claimed yesterday that Hardy “was probably going to be non-tendered” by the Twins if they hadn’t traded him to Baltimore, except they actually tendered Hardy a contract on December 2 and didn’t trade him until December 9. Perhaps they already had the framework of a deal in place, in which case Gardenhire is telling the truth about their misguided plan to cut one of the best shortstops in baseball for nothing. Ultimately the only difference is the degree of the Twins’ ineptitude.

Baltimore immediately liked what they saw in Hardy, signing him to a three-year, $22 million extension.

White Sox trade Tyler Saladino to the Brewers, acquire Trayce Thompson from the Athletics

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The White Sox made a pair of moves on Thursday evening, trading infielder Tyler Saladino to the Brewers for cash considerations. The club also acquired outfielder Trayce Thompson from the Athletics for cash considerations.

Saladino, 28, took only nine trips to the plate for the White Sox, registering a single and a double. He’s played all over the field, so he offers versatility to the Brewers. Most of his playing time has come in the infield, chiefly at third base, second base, and shortstop.

The Brewers designated pitcher Alec Asher for assignment to create roster space for Saladino.

Thompson, 27, was designated for assignment by the A’s on Tuesday. He came to the plate only seven times, achieving a lone single with four strikeouts.