Orioles may trade Matt Wieters or J.J. Hardy to create payroll flexibility

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With their eyes on the horizon, the Orioles are open to the possibility of trading catcher Matt Wieters or shortstop J.J. Hardy to create payroll flexibility, reports Steve Melewski of MASN. The O’s have some interesting situations to address in the near future including extending Chris Davis (a free agent after 2015) and buying out Manny Machado’s upcoming arbitration years (2016-18).

Wieters is arbitration-eligible for his second of three years, meaning he’ll be a free agent after the 2015 season. MLB Trade Rumors projects a $7.9 million salary for Wieters which will only climb next year, then will set the benchmark for the average annual value of a contract extension. It makes sense that the Orioles, who opened the 2013 season with a $92 million payroll, would explore a trade. Though Wieters has not lived up to the (perhaps unfair) hype that surrounded him as he made his way up through the Orioles’ farm system, he has been consistently reliable at a premium position.

On the other hand, Hardy is 31 years old and a free agent after the 2014 season. While he has been superb for the Orioles, he doesn’t factor in as a long-term piece, so making him available is standard fare. According to Baseball Reference, the only shortstops more valuable than Hardy since 2011 have been Elvis Andrus and Troy Tulowitzki, going by Wins Above Replacement.

Video: With friends and family present, Brandon Nimmo hits inside-the-park homer at Coors Field

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The Mets opened up a four-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field on Monday night, the last leg of their 10-game road trip. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who grew up in nearby Wyoming, got his first start in Colorado, so he bought about 75 tickets for friends and family for the series, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Batting leadoff, Nimmo fittingly led off the game by hitting an inside-the-park home run, drilling an 0-2 cutter from Tyler Anderson to right-center field. The ball didn’t take the carom that right fielder Carlos Gonzalez expected, so Nimmo circled the bases easily to complete his 11th home run of the season.

The 25-year-old Nimmo has proven to be a spark plug for the underachieving Mets. Entering play Monday, he was batting .274/.402/.565 in 204 plate appearances. Nimmo hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday, helping the Mets overcome the Diamondbacks.