MacPhail hoping to start contract talks with Hardy before All-Star break
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail acknowledged that the club has had internal discussions about a potential extension for J.J. Hardy and he’s hoping to initiate contract talks with the shortstop’s agent before next month’s All-Star break.
“There’s no reason why he wouldn’t be an asset here for years to come,” MacPhail said. “I definitely think we’ll have conversations. There’s no question about it. The closer you get for free agency, the more difficult it is for players to want that extension. I think it’s something that we definitely targeted before the All-Star break to talk about.”
Hardy, who said during spring training that he’d like to play with his new team for a couple of months before making any decisions about his future, said that he and his agent are open to discussions about an extension.
“I think some of it has to do with what my agent thinks, but I do like it here. I’m not afraid to say that,” said Hardy, who was acquired from the Minnesota Twins in December for minor league relievers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson. “I like all the guys, I like playing for [manager Buck Showalter], I like all the coaches. I like the direction that this organization is going. But I’ve always said that it has to be brought up in order to figure out what I want to do. It’s never really been brought up either way, so I don’t know. I feel like something has to happen. I think everyone knows that something has to happen here in the next couple of months.”
Hardy, 28, will be a free agent after the season, so it stands to reason, that if the Orioles don’t feel like they can resign him to an extension – and that is their priority at this point – then they’ll try to move him before the July 31 trade deadline.
Hardy, who missed nearly a month with an oblique injury, has certainly played well enough to garner interest from contenders. After getting two more hits Sunday, Hardy is batting .287 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 36 games. He has reached base in 19 of his past 20 games and has hit .375 (6-for-16) with two homers since being inserted into the leadoff role in Brian Roberts’ absence.
Defensively, Hardy has yet to make an error, the only American League shortstop who has started 15 or more games at the position and can make that claim.