The Orioles announced a three-year, $40 million extension with shortstop J.J. Hardy back in October, but if Hardy had his way, he would’ve inked his name a lot sooner. Via MASN’s Steve Melewski:
“It kind of went a lot longer than I wanted it to,” Hardy said. “I didn’t think it needed to go that long, but it did. But I told my agent, ‘Listen, this is what I want and I like it in Baltimore. Let’s get to what is fair and make this happen.’ Now that it is done, I’m glad everything worked out as it did.”
It was important for the Orioles to extend Hardy before he hit the open market, as several rich teams including the Yankees and Dodgers made changes at shortstop and that would have driven Hardy’s price up. Despite only hitting nine home runs last season, the 86 he has slugged since the start of the 2011 season leads all shortstops, ahead of Troy Tulowitzki’s 84. The Orioles also saw Nelson Cruz sign with the Mariners, so losing Hardy would have been a crippling blow to their power hitting.