|Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy|
(Photo via Keith Allison)
Per club source, rumors that Hardy & Wieters are available just part of initial dialogue w/ teams. They aren't on "block" or being shopped.Unsurprisingly, Dan Duquette also denied the rumors: "We like our core players. And it doesn't surprise me that clubs would be interested in Hardy and Wieters. They're good players. A lot of it is speculation. That's the way it goes this time of the offseason. J.J. Hardy is coming off a terrific year." Specifically referring to the Hardy rumors, Duquette added: "If somebody reported that [he's being shopped], that's not true. Are there other clubs that are interested in J.J. Hardy? Who wouldn't be interested in a shortstop that just won the Gold Glove and captured the Silver Slugger?"
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) November 13, 2013
Yes, why won't anybody think of the Silver Slugger?
Hardy and Wieters are both solid players. And they are also popular players, for the most part. But they are not untouchable; few players are. Besides, fans shouldn't believe anything coaches or general managers say, especially when it comes to potential trades. Duquette has no obligation to tell the truth right now. His job is to make the Orioles better. Maybe he's being honest about these trade rumors. Or maybe he's being sneaky and trying to bait teams into increasing their potential offers on two good but not great players.
Thanks to an improved year power-wise, Hardy (.263/.306/.433) hit better than the MLB average shortstop (.254/.308/.367); plus, he was again very good defensively. But he's in the last year of his three-year, $22.25 million deal (due $7 million in 2014), and he's going to be looking to cash in on another multiyear contract, whether that's with the Orioles or not. If the Orioles keep Hardy throughout the season and extend him a qualifying offer, they would gain a compensatory draft pick if he declines the offer (which he should) and opts to sign elsewhere. But if they are in fact not going to extend him, it might make more sense to deal him now. That depends, of course, on what the O's are targeting in a trade -- future pieces, players to help them now, or a mix of both. I guess the 23-year-old Miller qualifies as both, since he's good now and under team control for five more seasons.
Wieters (.235/.287/.417), who has been covered extensively on this site, hit slightly worse than the average MLB catcher (.245/.310/.388), but was again solid defensively (at least per FanGraphs' defensive metrics). He is under team control for two more seasons, but he's expected to see his salary increase from $5.5 million to somewhere between $7 and $8 million next season, and then somewhat higher in 2015. His defense may make it easier to live with his salary, but it's hard to defend a .287 on-base percentage.
I think we can all agree that Wieters and Hardy have been key parts in the Orioles' turnaround these past two seasons. And, despite the rumors, I doubt the Orioles will actually trade them this offseason. But shopping them makes sense, even if it's just to gauge the interest of other teams. There are smart reasons to both trade and not trade either player, but if the Orioles decide not to trade one or the other, hopefully it's not because of things like Silver Sluggers, Gold Gloves, and errorless streaks and fielding percentage.
Jon cooked up an interesting trade offer yesterday. Take a look:
If you could have Shelby Miller for JJ Hardy, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Jonathan Schoop...would you do it? #OriolesMy initial reaction was that I probably would, but I'm not so sure after thinking about it for a while. Hardy and Schoop probably aren't enough to get Miller, but Rodriguez's inclusion might be a deal-breaker.
— Camden Depot (@CamdenDepot) November 13, 2013
Anyway, what say you, Orioles fan?