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Could the Orioles have turned J.J. Hardy into Colby Rasmus?

Jul 31, 2011, 8:00 PM EDT

J.J. Hardy Getty Images

The Orioles would have had far-and-away the best shortstop available in trade talks this month if they didn’t sign J.J. Hardy to a three-year, $22.5 million extension two weeks ago.  The 28-year-old Hardy has had a terrific season in his first year in Baltimore, hitting .275/.325/.510 with 18 homers in 298 at-bats.

And extending Hardy was a defensible decision.  The Orioles have a top shortstop prospect in 2010 first-round pick Manny Machado, but he’s probably two years away from the majors.  Hardy was a better choice to bridge that gap than anyone who would have been available in free agency this winter, and he signed for a reasonable $7.5 million per year.

Still, I can’t help but think that Colby Rasmus would look awfully good in left field for Baltimore, and it’s quite possible that the Cardinals might have been willing to part with him for J.J. Hardy and Jeremy Guthrie.  While Guthrie isn’t quite as good of a bet as Edwin Jackson, he does have a 4.18 ERA in the AL East this season.  Hardy would have a great fit at shortstop for the Cards, and he has 250 points of OPS on Rafael Furcal this year.

But the Orioles passed up the chance to cash in Hardy.  In their defense, that hole at shortstop is hard to fill and they now have a pretty good option there, if one who is a bit injury-prone, through 2014.  I just think that when a team in Baltimore’s position has a chance to rope in a player with star potential, it has to do whatever it takes.

  1. zsachse - Jul 31, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    I know Rasmus has the potential to be a very good player, but Hardy isn’t a 35 year old who is only here for this year. Both play at a position where power is a premium, but Hardy plays at a position the Orioles have been unable to fill for years and where there are very few talented MLers. Rasmus on the other hand has a OPS 100 points lower than our current CFer despite being mostly in a weaker league in a better lineup. Plus if daddy didn’t like him playing for the Cardinals he wold hate the Orioles.

  2. hcf95688 - Jul 31, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Who in their right mind (OK, aside from the B-Jays) would want to deal with the trainwreck known as Colby Rasmus’ Daddy?

  3. possum327 - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Brewers tried getting a talent by dealing Jerry James Hardy for no hitting Carlos Gomez. Gomez is a great defender when not hurt and is one of the fastest players in baseball, but dude bats like shit.

  4. smcdolfan - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Didn’t Hardy have a provision in the new contract that stated he couldn’t be traded from a Baltimore this season.

    • Ari Collins - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:12 AM

      I think he’s saying if they trade him instead of extending him.

  5. stoutfiles - Aug 1, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Who would have played shortstop then? Tony Rasmus?

  6. stealing3rd - Aug 1, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    This makes no sense. For all the O’s many, many faults, they have solid, long-term solutions at the 3 hardest positions to fill: SS, CF, and C. Yet you wanted them to dump one of those for fill a position that’s not a real need, and for a player whose baggage might exceed his potential? .

  7. randomdigits - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Guthrie + Hardy is too much for Rasmus. AM also required pitching in return for any trade of Guthrie.

  8. humanexcrement - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    I thought by the headline in this story that you were saying the Orioles should have shopped JJ Hardy for prospects, but you’re actually saying the Orioles should have given up one of the few offensively productive (and also very affordable) shortstops in baseball at this point for an outfielder not living up to expectations with a history of causing problems for his team? If there’s one rule in baseball it’s that outfielders are more easily replaced than shortstops.

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