Orioles “have had trade discussions” about J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett

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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.

Cubs sign infielder Daniel Descalso

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The Chicago Cubs have signed free agent infielder Daniel Descalso. The deal is for two years and is worth $5 million, with a club option for 2021 that could bring the total overall value to $8.25 million.

Descalso, 32, has spent the past two seasons in Arizona. Before that he spent two years with the Rockies. He began his career with the Cardinals, playing in St. Louis for five seasons. He’s a career .240/.324/.370 hitter (85 OPS+) who can cover multiple positions. Indeed, in 2018 alone he played first, second, third, left field, DH and he even pitched twice. In his career he has also played a great deal of shortstop, though not regularly for a couple of years.

In an age of short benches and big bullpens, it pays to have a super utility guy. Descalso may not be Marwin Gonzalez as far as quality goes, but he’s just as flexible a lot more affordable. That’s worth at least something.