According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun the Orioles “have had trade discussions” with the Twins about J.J. Hardy and with the Rays about Jason Bartlett.
Cesar Izturis was Baltimore’s starting shortstop this year, but he’s a free agent the team is clearly looking for an upgrade offensively.
Previous reports had the Rays shopping Bartlett with an eye toward turning shortstop over to Reid Brignac and there’s been speculation that the Twins may non-tender Hardy because they’re looking to add more speed at the position (which, to me, would be a big mistake).
Zrebiec notes that the Orioles “haven’t ruled out” bringing back Izturis and says talks with the Rays for Bartlett have included right-hander David Hernandez potentially going to Tampa Bay. No word on what they’d be offering the Twins for Hardy. Bartlett and Hardy are both one season away from being free agents.
Jon Heyman has been hot on the free agent trail today, reporting that the Padres have made offers both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The offer to Machado is believed to be for eight years and about $250 million, while the offer to Harper is believed to be for more than that.
Heyman was reporting on Harper earlier, tweeting that the Phillies are the favorite to sign him. He added this evening that Harper has multiple long-term offers at more than $30 million annually. Regarding Machado, Heyman noted that while Machado was believed to have had a preference for the East coast, he will go for the best deal now, which puts the Padres firmly in the picture.
The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week. A late entrant into the sweepstakes, the club has shown the willingness to spend, signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract last year. If he goes to San Diego, Machado would be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop.
Nothing appears close, but we’ll take anything resembling a spark to light the hot stove.