Oct 2, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) celebrates with third base coach Bobby Dickerson (11) after hitting a home run during the seventh inning in game one of the 2014 American League divisional series against the Detroit Tigers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
While you can’t really evaluate a trade until a few years later the trade got a lot of different reviews, but the ones I preferred were the ones calling it a win-win for both parties.
The Brewers were selling on Hardy after a down year and injury killed some of his value. They didn’t need him as they felt Alcides Escobar was ready to take over at short.
The Twins needed a shortstop and were ready to end their relationship with Gomez (their big get in the Johan Santana trade) because he was having trouble adjusting to their slap-hitting approach, and he was prone to mistakes. The Twins can’t stand mistakes, and they had Denard Span ready for center field. The Brewers were buying Gomez’s potential.
In theory, the trade should have ended up as a win-win for the two teams involved. Since the start of the 2010 season, Hardy has played a very good shortstop and while his offense is still up and down, he doesn’t hurt you with the bat. He’s earned 16 fWAR in that time. In the same time period, Gomez has been worth 18.9 fWAR.
Unfortunately for the Twins, they didn’t see much of that value:
In fact, Joe Mauer is the only player on the Twins roster worth more than 10 fWAR in that span.
Hardy spent some time on the disabled list in 2010 for the Twins and only played in 101 games. The Twins traded him to Baltimore for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey. The Twins released Jacobson in the middle of the 2012 minor league season, and the Rockies released him in the middle of 2013, seemingly ending his career.
The Twins lost Hoey to a waiver claim by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 and he became a free agent after the 2012 season. He was briefly in the Brewers organization as a minor league free agent, signing in December of 2012, but Milwaukee released him in April of 2013.
Most observers would say the Brewers did pretty well in acquiring Gomez and letting his bat loose. Unfortunately the crew traded Escobar to the Royals in the Zack Greinke deal, and we all know what that meant for the 2011 and 2012 seasons at short.
Hardy has been solid for the Orioles in his four seasons with the team. In fact, his defensive numbers at FanGraphs make him one of the elite shortstops in baseball. His offense is as inconsistent as ever, but his OPS+’s of 114, 81, 99, and 93 in Baltimore are more than acceptable for a shortstop with that kind of defensive pedigree.
Last night in the Orioles 12-3 win against the Detroit Tigers, Hardy was 1-for-3 with a walk, home run and two runs scored. Unless he and the Orioles work out a late deal, he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season.