No Goodbyes for J.J. Hardy and Baltimore
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 season has truly been a magical one for the Baltimore Orioles and Charm City faithful. However, as the Postseason got underway, a sour taste appeared for me knowing the players who were facing free agency, including Nelson Cruz, Andrew Miller, and J.J. Hardy. It was reported that the Yankees were going to go after Hardy in the off-season to replace Derek Jeter at shortstop.
Seeing our No. 2 wearing Yankee pinstripes would be awful sight for any Orioles fan. Luckily for Baltimore, that will not happen as it was confirmed today that the Baltimore Orioles and Hardy reached a deal on a contract extension.
The deal is reported to be $40 million over three years, with $6.5 million deferred. According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, the deal also includes a vesting option for a fourth year based on at-bats.
Since being acquired in December of 2010, Hardy has made a name for himself here in Baltimore. The two-time Gold Glove Award winner (possibly a three-time winner after this year), has made spectacular plays in the field countless times and it can be argued that he is the best defensive shortstop the Orioles have had since Cal Ripken Jr.
Despite an “off year” this year, Hardy does have the ability to hit the ball over the fence when he steps into the batter’s box. He had at least 22 home runs in each of his first three seasons while in Baltimore. Although Hardy had only nine homers this season, his power is still there.
When Hardy is not rounding the bases when hitting a home run, he is still recording base hits and may be one of the most clutch hitters in the Orioles’ lineup behind Nick Markakis. And last season he was noticed for his hitting ability by being awarded his first-ever Silver Slugger Award. In 2014, he is batting .268/.309/.372 with 52 RBI and 28 doubles.
Hardy turned 32 in August and with this contract he may remain an Oriole for the rest of his playing career. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles are also hammering out a deal with Cruz. All in all, it is a good day for Orioles fans.
UPDATE: Nelson Cruz told reporters that nothing is going on with him and the Orioles in terms of contract extensions. The Baltimore Orioles officially announced the signing of J.J. Hardy for a three-year contract extension with an option for 2018.