The Orioles and J.J. Hardy were expected to at least broach the subject of a contract extension during spring training, but nothing has happened yet with May fast approaching. Hardy, 31, can become a free agent after the season once the final year of his three-year, $22.25 million contract expires.
That the Orioles haven’t been in contact with Hardy’s agent makes the shortstop scratch his head. Via Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore:
“I don’t know. I don’t know what to say because no matter what I say it’s going to cause some controversy, a story that I really don’t want to get involved with right now,” Hardy said. “There’s been no talk. There was going to be talk, and then there wasn’t. That’s kind of the way it’s been left.”
“It just makes me curious. I don’t understand what happened within the month or two that there was going to be talk, and all of a sudden there’s not. It just makes me curious,” Hardy said.
Hardy’s offensive numbers in 2012 and ’13 didn’t quite live up to the numbers he posted in his first year with the Orioles in 2011. And he’s off to a slow start in 2014, posting a .238/.250/.286 line over 44 plate appearances.
Hardy, by the way, left Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox with a strained right hamstring. He has also been dealing with back spasms, an injury that bothered him last season as well. While Hardy has mostly been healthy since joining the Orioles, one can understand the Orioles’ reticence in signing a long-term pact to a player dealing with various injury problems as he approaches his mid-30’s.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.