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J.J. Hardy homers to remind Twins of mistake they made letting him go

Aug 23, 2011, 12:16 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

Last night the Twins were reminded of their biggest offseason mistake when Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy homered in his return to Minnesota.

Hardy, who was traded for a pair of mid-level prospects after the Twins decided they wanted to add more “speed” to the middle infield, now has 24 homers for the Orioles, which is the most by an AL East shortstop since Miguel Tejada back in 2006.

Hardy has 24 homers in 383 at-bats while the Twins’ entire infield, including everyone to play first base, second base, shortstop, or third base, has 37 homers in 2,328 at-bats. And their shortstops have hit .233 with three homers.

Ron Gardenhire claimed yesterday that Hardy “was probably going to be non-tendered” by the Twins if they hadn’t traded him to Baltimore, except they actually tendered Hardy a contract on December 2 and didn’t trade him until December 9. Perhaps they already had the framework of a deal in place, in which case Gardenhire is telling the truth about their misguided plan to cut one of the best shortstops in baseball for nothing. Ultimately the only difference is the degree of the Twins’ ineptitude.

Baltimore immediately liked what they saw in Hardy, signing him to a three-year, $22 million extension.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Time for that team to redefine what makes a “twins ballplayer.” Trying to turn Liriano into Kevin Slowey and dumping Hardy for Alexei Casilla have turned out to be the difference between contending and October vacations.

  2. dodger88 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Not to pick on the Twins but they famously cut David Ortiz as well which leads me to wonder which team has cut the best players in terms of filling out a roster. If one looked at each team position by position who would have the best roster of players cut over time?

    • paperlions - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      True, but it isn’t like many teams thought he would amount to much…the Red Sox signed him for $1.25M.

  3. trevorb06 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    This is the same Twins organization trying to trade a 29 year old Kubel and sign a 32 year old Cruddyer to a 4 year deal. I can only imagine they’ll let Kubel walk after the season. Want to know how to fix a lot of the problems with the Twins? Get rid of Bill Smith.

    • kopy - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM

      The Twins are making me embarrassed to be a Twins fan, and I haven’t felt that way in over a decade. I can tolerate losing, but the utter incompetence on display shows the Twins are nowhere near their potential.

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    “about their misguided plan to cut one of the best shortstops in baseball for nothing”

    Um, when exactly was he this? Oh, you mean this career year? Yeah, I think that’s pretty fair writing. Look, you are talking about a guy who hit 6 HRs and had an OPS of 95 last year…his only year with the Twins.

    If you want to make a case that the Twins gave up too early on the guy, then fire away. But don’t make it out like the Twins were misguidedly going to cut one of the best shortstops in baseball for nothing, when he was not even close at the time they were going to cut him.

    And by the way…a .312 on base percentage sucks no matter what position you play.

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