What the J.J. Hardy Deal Means for the Diamondbacks
By Thomas Lynch
The J.J. Hardy deal just drove up the price for a D’backs’ shortstop. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Orioles announced they had reached a three-year extension with shortstop J.J. Hardy yesterday. As a reader of a blog about the Arizona Diamondbacks, you might ask why this is news. Well, we know that the D’backs are flush with shortstop talent with Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed all manning the position for the Snakes in 2014. Dealing a young, starting shortstop could net something valuable like a young, Major-League ready starting pitcher, something the team needs. Here are two perspectives about the Hardy deal.
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It doesn’t mean much. All this does is maintain the status quo of how many teams are in the market for a shortstop. Had Hardy left as a free agent to a team like the New York Yankees, it would have created an opening in Baltimore. With him staying in Charm City, all it does is show that the Yankees are still in play for a shortstop. It doesn’t change what the D’backs will be asking for in a trade or what they can get in return.
It means a lot. The market for shortstops was just reduced by one. Therefore, you would think the asking price just went up. Bidding on players is easy. Determining what to trade can be hard. All three are club controlled for at least four years, another attractive part of their value. The D’backs now just have to wait for clubs to make them an offer and decide which represents the best for the organization.
The verdict: Of course, Arizona could be perceived as being greedy and end up with all three players come Spring Training. With one or two of them being sent back to Triple A, the risk of their value dropping is great. However, I believe it speaks volumes that of the three big free agents-to-be on the O’s, Hardy was the one they locked up now. Nelson Cruz, who could be the AL MVP, and Chris Davis, who supplies power, will most likely test the market. It shows you how valuable a good shortstop, even with declining offensive numbers, is to teams these days. The Hardy deal is good for Arizona because I believe the value of their crop of players at the position just went up. The D’backs should be able to land a good player for whichever one they decide to trade.