LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Twins and Orioles are in talks about a possible trade that would send shortstop J.J. Hardy to Baltimore but just how close a deal may be is unclear.
The Baltimore Sun first reported Wednesday that the two sides were in “serious negotiations” about a trade involving Hardy. The two teams have talked previously about a deal involving Hardy, as the Orioles have been aggressively pursuing an upgrade at shortstop.
A move to send Hardy to Baltimore would signal that the Twins are confident that they can sign Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a deal before the Dec. 26 deadline expires and perhaps a deal could be close to being completed. If the Twins move Hardy, it’s likely that Nishioka would be the starter at second base and Alexi Casilla could be the starting shortstop.
The Orioles are one of a few teams that have talked to the Twins about Hardy. The Twins were also in discussions with the Pirates on a trade for Hardy last week and Pittsburgh is still interested in the shortstop.
By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
BOSTON – The Twins are trying to wrap up their roadtrip with a win tonight and while it would still be a losing roadtrip, a 3-4 record certainly looks better than 2-5 vs. the AL East on this three-city trip.
It appears unlikely that shortstop J.J. Hardy will be ready to play this weekend against his former team, the Brewers. Hardy (left wrist contusion) is still only hitting off a tee and manager Ron Gardenhire said the club will most likely wait until after Monday’s off day to activate him from the DL.
The Twins don’t want to stick with 13 pitchers to they’re expected to make a roster mover after tonight’s game to swap a pitcher for an infielder. The move is not known yet, although Matt Tolbert is not eligible to be brought up again and Luke Hughes is on the DL with a strained groin.
Denard Span, CF
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Pitching: LHP Francisco Liriano (4-2, 2.63
Red Sox (21-20)
Darnell McDonald, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Mike Lowell, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Angel Sanchez, SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester
(3-2, 3.91 ERA)
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One of the reasons that J.J. Hardy was excited about joining the Twins was that it gave him the opportunity to once again be teammates with catcher Joe Mauer.
The two first met when they were both around 15 years old and playing for the U.S.A. Junior National team. They would play on many of the same national teams over the next few years, and were even roommates back in 2000 when the junior national team took the silver medal in Edmonton, Canada.
Hardy said the two have stayed in contact, although not much over the phone as he joked that Mauer has changed his phone number a few times in recent years. But during the two series between the Twins and Brewers every year, the two took some time to catch up.
Now Hardy is looking forward to hitting in the same lineup as Mauer once again.
“I’ve actually hit in front of Joe Mauer before on a couple of the USA teams that we played on together when we were 15, 16 years old,” Hardy said. “It worked out well for me back then.”
The Twins’ plans are to work this winter on signing Mauer to a contract extension. Hardy certainly supports the idea of having the catcher around for the foreseeable future.
“I know they’re already working on it, and I’m excited about that,” Hardy said early on Friday afternoon in an interview with MLB.com “I really like him. We clicked right from the start.”
As you’ve now all read, the Twins filled one of their biggest offseason holes this morning by acquiring shortstop J.J. Hardy from the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Carlos Gomez.
We got a chance to speak with Hardy on a conference call this afternoon and I thought I’d share with you his thoughts — some of which didn’t get into my story.
What were your initial thoughts on the trade?
“I feel like it’s actually going to work out good for both teams,
both organizations. Obviously the Twins had two center fielders, the
Brewers had two shortstops, and they both needed the opposite.
“For me, I’m excited about the trade. I definitely knew I was going
to get traded from the day they did send me down [to Triple-A Nashville
in August]. I felt like that was their plan, I didn’t know who [I’d get traded] to, but once I got the call this morning I was pretty
excited about it. I think the change of scenery will be good for me.”
How do you describe what happened last season (when he batted .229 w/ 11 HRs) ?
“I don’t want to think about anymore. It’s over, I was happy when it
ended. It was just kind of a nightmare year for me. Even when I was up
there, I wasn’t at a level I wanted to perform at, and then when I got
sent down, it just made things worse.
Can you pinpoint when things went wrong?
“I got off to a really slow start. I feel like there’s been several
years now that I’ve gotten off to a slow start and be able to bounce
out of it. This year was different for me, I just feel like I never
could really get comfortable, and it just kind of snowballed from the
first month that was not good.”
What is that gives him confidence looking ahead to 2010?
“I don’t think the change in the teams is going to be that big of a
deal, I don’t think the change in leagues is going to be that big of a
deal for me. I told myself come probably May, when I was still
struggling and when I got sent down in August, that all that I needed
was for the season to end and I’ll be normal again. Every year, I go
about the same thing in the offseason, I come to spring training and I
feel ready to go, and I feel that’s what’s going to happen next year.”