Twins to Trade Hardy to Orioles

9 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Just after midnight central time, it came out that the Twins are very close to trading JJ Hardy to the Orioles. Rumors arose on Wednesday afternoon that the Twins may be dealing Hardy to Baltimore for two minor league relievers, but soon after, word came that the teams had much more to discuss. When the more formal announcement was made late last night, Hardy was traded with Brendan Harris in exchange for relief pitchers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson. As this transaction becomes more formal, and if there are any updates or edits, I will make them.

For the last month, the Twins have continued to speak on and on about this need for speed. They then added Tsuyoshi Nishioka  to the mix when they bid over $5 million just to negotiate with him. They have also committed to giving Alexi Casilla an opportunity to be an everyday player. It is assumed Casilla would play SS and Nishioka would play second base, although that will be determined this spring.

Although Twins fans, myself included, would love to get more for one of the top shortstops in the league, it is pretty clear that this is all the Twins could get and they decided to settle for it. I think that the Twins made the decision that they wanted to go a different direction than Hardy after he missed 60 games in 2010. They truly want to add speed. I actually don’t think that trading Hardy is a salary dump alone. Getting Brendan Harris added to the deal, assuming that the O’s are picking up Hardy and Harris’s contracts, is just a great job by Bill Smith. That’s an extra $1.75 million that the Twins would have had to play regardless. As I said all along, I think the idea situation was to have JJ Hardy at shortstop with Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base and Alexi Casilla as the utilty player. I also am a realist and knew that was pretty unlikely.

What do we know about the two relievers coming to the Twins?

Brett Jacobson – A 6-6, 205 pound right-hander, Jacobson throws hard. He hits between 95 and 98 with his fastball. He was the team’s fourth-round pick in 2008 out of the University of Vanderbilt. He was traded in 2009 from the Tigers to the Orioles in the Aubrey Huff deal. He went back to Hi-A in 2010 to work on his secondary pitches, and he was very good. He is the type of power arm that the Twins should be looking for. He just turned 24 years old in November and should advance quickly in 2011.

Jim Hoey – He was a member of the Orioles’ bullpen in 2006 and 2007. He had Tommy John surgery in 2008 and missed the entire year. He slowly returned in 2009. In 2009, he threw 52.2 innings between AA and AAA and struck out 70 in 52.2 innings of work. He also walked 34 which isn’t ideal, but he will certainly play a part in the Twins bullpen in 2011. The 6-6 righty will turn 28 years old later this month.

Please note that if more information and specifics of this trade come out, I will update this page. I am also hoping to get some more detailed scouting reports on these pitchers and will post them when I receive them. The deal is expected to be formalized following Thursday’s Rule 5 draft as Harris is eligible for the draft. Hoey is on the 40 man roster and Jacobson does not yet need to be protected for another year.

Alright, here you go. What do you think? Please feel free to leave your comments here.

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38 Responses to “Twins to Trade Hardy to Orioles”

  1. Ty December 9, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    Can’t say I’m a huge fan. The Twins traded an up-the-middle asset for relief pitching, which isn’t exactly optimal. The front office must really be turned off by Hardy’s injury problems. Also, with two middle infielders now gone from the system, it’s gotta be safe to assume that the chances of Punto coming back just took a big jump.

  2. bcn twins fan December 9, 2010 at 5:14 am #

    Puntos definately coming back now. Gardy will insist on him for defensive insurance(and rightly so). im surprised they didnt get major leaugue ready bullpen arm in the trade. who´s their bullpen now. Nathan maybe, Capps, Mijares, and well say Manship in long relief. that leaves 3 possibly 4 spots. Burnett??, Slama?? and??? they need deinately 1 probably 2 quality proven arms in the pen

  3. jack torse December 9, 2010 at 5:54 am #

    another season, another complete revamp of the middle infield.

  4. roger December 9, 2010 at 7:24 am #

    Good morning Seth, Likewise disappointed that we didn’t get more for Hardy, assuming this is the deal. Part of it appears to be saving dollars. Could this give them the money to bring back Crain or Guerrier? If it does, that makes it look better.

  5. Kunza December 9, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    This is why the Twins are always going to be a mediocre team. What is it about Minnesota teams that always makes me sick?

    Let’s have some guts and try to make moves that make sense.

    Trade Cuddyer – he sucks. I don’t care if he is liked in Minnesota. He is a horrible player and can’t hit and can’t handle the glove.

    Move Span to right field – he sucks. Another season of him in CF makes me sick.

    Keep Wilson Ramos to catch instead of having Matt Capps.

    Sign Nick Punto to an extension is the next Twins headline we are going to hear about!!!!!!

    Fire Ron Gardenhire and Bill Smith. What a darn joke these two clowns have turned out to be. Both seem to be getting a free pass for winning division titles in the crappy AL Central.

  6. Bill in Sarasota December 9, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    I don’t like it.

    Twins are taking a chance on both Casilla and Nishioka with no quality behind them.

  7. KC December 9, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Horrible, horrible trade. How can you trade your starting shortstop when you’ve already lost your 2nd baseman when their replacements are totally unproven. Plus, what do you get in return? Two stinkin’ relief pitchers who may never pitch a game for the Twins.

  8. Bill in Sarasota December 9, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Twins selected LHP Scott Diamond from Atlanta in Rule 5 draft

  9. mini_tb December 9, 2010 at 9:25 am #

    I can’t say I’m a fan of this deal either, but maybe we’re overvaluing Hardy a bit? I dunno…

    We all know Hardy’s a stud defensively, and he’s at least palatable offensively.

    But we also know that he couldn’t stay on the field in 2010; his arm looked pretty iffy a lot of the time; he was absolutely terrible in 2009; and he was about to make $6M which is much more than just pocket change.

    What I’m worried about is that this is a potential contender in 2011 with major questions at all 4 infield positions and not much of a backup plan.

    Nishioka supposedly isn’t even signed yet and is obviously completely unproven. I’m guessing the Nishioka deal is actually done because, otherwise, the Twins just put his agent in the driver’s seat for contact negotiations!!

    If Casilla has a league average offensive season, it’ll be a major coup.

    Valencia? I’ll be happy with league average offense out of him, too. Last year will repeat itself. I will say I loved the defense from him. Hopefully that doesn’t regress.

    Then there’s Morneau. You obviously hate to think the unthinkable, but ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.

    It doesn’t seem like there’s much of a backup plan in place… Matt Tolbert, Luke Hughes, and Trevor Plouffe for 3B, SS, and 2B?

    Justin Huber or Jeff Bailey for 1B? Or might we be looking at Cuddyer at first again, Kubel in the field, and a yet to be signed DH?

    I’m trying not to sound too negative, but the 2011 infield and lack of a backup plan worries me. It’s early in the offseason, so something could still be done to address it…

    • mini_tb December 9, 2010 at 10:38 am #

      Regarding Valencia… I meant to say last year will NOT repeat itself.

  10. SteveH December 9, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    Seth.

    Any idea where Jacobson would fit into the Twins prospect list? Top seven? Top 10? He is the kind of thrower the Twins need to target.

  11. Keli December 9, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    Looks like Diamond is a left-hander who induces a lot of ground balls (GB:FB of 1.77 for minor league career). He pitched 5 shutout innings against ROC last year and got 9 GO, 1 AO and 4 SO.

    May be a nice complement to Jeff Manship as a long reliever.

    In regards to the Hardy (potential) trade, I am not excited at all, and the only way it becomes palatable is if the money saved is well spent (i.e. NOT just on Nishioka). This trade also makes me wonder if Hardy was a ‘card player’ and didn’t take his job too seriously?

  12. mini_tb December 9, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Just epanding a bit on what Keli said…

    Scott Diamond seems like a pretty nice Rule 5 pick for the Twins. He’s just 24 and potentially projects as a pitch to contact, ground ball inducing back of the rotation left handed starter. He would probably benefit from at least 1/2 of a season in AAA, but that won’t be an option unless a deal is worked out with the Braves.

    From what I’ve read, he’s got pretty average stuff, which is what makes him a bit of a fringy prospect. Before reaching AAA last season, he typically struck out 7 batters per 9 innings. The K rate dipped in his first AAA exposure. He typically walks about 2.5 per 9 innings, and he boasts a career ground ball to fly ball ratio of 1.77. Being a ground ball pitcher, he doesn’t allow many home runs. He also very hittable.

    I’m at the very least intrigued by this pick. Maybe the Twins will be able to stash him in the bullpen as a long man all year? Perhaps he’s merely a Spring Training starting pitching insurance policy in case of injury or suckiness. Right now I’d probably place him ahead of the Glen Perkins and Anthony Swarzaks of the world, so that may make him 7th or 8th in starting pitching depth??? Or maybe they can work out a deal with the insanely pitching rich Braves to keep him in the system and send him to Rochester to start the season. Regardless, he seems like a solid guy to at least kick the tires on.

  13. TT December 9, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I think Casilla is, physically, a better defensive shortstop than Hardy. The question is whether he has matured enough to eliminate the mental mistakes. If Nishioka is as good defensively as those Japanese gold gloves at shortstop and second base indicate, the Twins middle infield defense will be greatly improved.

    This was obviously a budget move, at least in part. They unloaded a couple of higher-priced veterans where they think they had young players ready to step up. That is what keeps the Twins competitive. Fans tend to hang on to familiar faces too long.

    I know a lot of people accuse the manager of that with Punto. But the reality is that Punto’s defense, which is what had him in the major leagues, really didn’t fall off all that far. If they sign him now, I think those folks would have a point. Punto

    I know a lot of people accuse the manager of that with Punto. But the reality is that Punto’s defense, which is what had him in the major leagues, really didn’t fall off all that far. If they sign him now, I think those folks would have a point.

    Given that the questions about the middle infield are their offense more than their defense, I am not sure what Punto’s role is. I suppose he provides some insurance if Valencia turns out to have just had another hot streak last season. But Tolbert, or Plouffe for that matter, can play that role. I think its likely Punto is done as a Twin.

    My guess is the bullpen, like last year, is going to be a work in progress for most of the season. They are adding some options, but until spring training they aren’t going to know which of those work and which don’t.

    They have Capps and Mijares. Nathan is certainly going to be there. The question is what his role is. They had Perkins, Neshek, Burnett, Slama, Delaney who have pitched effectively for periods at the major league level. They have guys like Guttierez, Swarzak and other young arms who might be ready to help. They added the rule 5 guy, who looks like a situational lefty, and it looks like they will get an arm from Baltimore.

    They may not be finished dealing with the bullpen, I hope not. But they have a lot of guys to sort through. I think the real priority is getting Pavano or another starter. I think the rotation will be very thin if they don’t. The result of that is that one injury and they are auditioning young prospects who they don’t really think are ready. That can cost them several games before they sort it out, if they sort it out.

  14. mike wants wins December 9, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    Awful trade, unless they use the money to fix another hole (hahahahahahaha). At best, they’ll use the money to overpay Pavaon. At worst, this is a salary dump.

    Hardy is a top 5-10 SS in the game. Trading him for an old guy who isn’t out of A ball, and another guy that is not all that good is ridiculous.

    Hardy does not fit Gardy’s pre-conceived notion of what a SS should be, so he’s gone. It’s that simple.

    This team just got worse. So much for the new revenues helping this team get better.

    • gobbledy December 9, 2010 at 11:30 am #

      bullpen big step back; starters step back if they resign pav it’s a step sideways; infield big ? but probably a big step back; no part of this team has been made better. still time but not looking good at this point.

      • Seth December 9, 2010 at 11:44 am #

        Gobble, today, I agree.

        Bringing back Pavano is a lateral move, at best… and that assumes he pitches as well as he did in ’10, which he likely won’t despite making a few more million dollars in ’11 and lots more in ’12 and ’13 probably.

        The Bullpen is obviously not as good as last year today, but that’s the nature of losing 6 free agents. To be fair, the Twins have some quality depth and really need 3, maybe 4, of the 10 or so options to step up. Seems like a huge step down, but is an area with some options. Also, it’s possible one could come back and with saved money, they could add 1 or 2 more quality bullpen arms.

        Infield – corners are set, middle is now a question mark. Hudson was terrible in the 2nd half. Hardy was solid when he played. Both very good defensively. In reality, this just puts all of the pressure in the world on Casilla and Nishioka to produce consistently which both are likely capable of.

        Like I’ve said, I don’t see this as an end-of-the-world trade by any means… and there are still a couple of months before spring training, so I think it’s safe to say that a lot can still happen.

  15. Doofus December 9, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    I am beginning to see a collection of arms to compete with the collection of arms we already have for bullpen jobs. Hopefully we’ll sign atleast 1 known arm for the pen. I am guessing guerrier or someone who is left standing for real cheap. I am guessing the Twins will bring back Thome and Pavano and skimp on the pen and middle IF. I am ok with that. I never thought I would say this but I now hope the Twins bring Punto back so we have backup options through out the IF.

  16. Doofus December 9, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Seth,

    You ought to do an article breaking down all of the bullpen pitchers with their stats and scouting reports and rank them. That would make for a great read. Include the ones that could debut by the middle of the season as well.

  17. TT December 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    “Hardy does not fit Gardy’s pre-conceived notion of what a SS should be, so he’s gone. It’s that simple.”

    Which is as it should be. The way you win is by giving the manager the tools he thinks he needs to win, not second-guessing him. Getting rid of an expensive player who doesn’t fit into your manager’s plans makes sense.

    I would much rather see Casilla in the number nine spot than Hardy. And, as I said above, he certainly has the potential to be an upgrade defensively as well. The risk he will under-produce is probably no greater than the risk that Hardy will end up missing a bunch of games again. As for upgrades, keeping Hardy at shortstop is clearly not an upgrade. Casilla at least has that potential.

  18. mike wants wins December 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    TT: I could say the sun rises in the East, and you’d disagree with me…..

    I hope the Twins and Casilla prove me wrong, I really do, but I think this is a high risk move, with little to no fallback plan in place at all. At some point, actual minor league and major league production trumps potential.*

    *again, I’ll take it all back if they use this money to fill another hole.

    **Mauer is not getting younger, Morneau is not getting younger. Pavano is not getting younger. At some point, they need to play for the present. I was told this would happen starting next year with all the revenues. Instead, they trade a starting SS for two pitchers whose upside is middle reliever. That is not playing for the present. Oh, and one of those pitchers is not out of A ball yet, as a 23/24 year old. Again, I hope they prove me wrong….

  19. TT December 9, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    I think people need to compare last year’s team in April to this year’s projected April roster, instead of pretending the Twins played the whole season with the roster they ended with. As they demonstrated last year, you don’t need to answer all your questions in the hot stove league.

    Capps, Fuentes and Valencia were added during the year and Duensing moved into the rotation from the bullpen. That’s not counting players who missed time due to injuries because those are inevitable.

    And I don’t think it is accurate to not expect some improvement from young players next year. Young, Span, Casilla and Valencia should all be improving based on their age. Even Mauer still fits into the “young player” category. And Slowey, Liriano, Duensing and Mijares are also still at ages where they can be expected to progress.

    That makes over half the everyday lineup and starters who can be expected to improve. If they can keep everything else going “sideways”, they should be a better team.

    • mike wants wins December 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

      It would be great if younger players always improved, but they don’t. Last year Span was worse, for example. That said, many of the Twins had worse years last year than the year before (young not included in that list). So, hopefully they’ll improve back to the level they had in 2009.

      • TT December 9, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

        “It would be great if younger players always improved, but they don’t.”

        Obviously that is true, which is why you need to have more than one young player on your team. The odds are with you until about age 28. After that the odds are against you. And the odds really start to go south when a player reaches his early 30′s. Of course, this isn’t a game of chance and its possible that all or none of those players will improve.

  20. TT December 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    “TT: I could say the sun rises in the East, and you’d disagree with me…..”

    Uh, no. You only think the value of your opinions are that certain.

    “At some point, they need to play for the present.”

    Why? With all the uncertainties in baseball, does it really make sense to abandon the future and roll the dice on one season? I don’t think so. Last year they lost Morneau for half the year and the he wasn’t available in the playoffs for the second straight year.
    NO ONE is getting any younger, but Mauer was 27 this year, which means he is still on the upside of his career. He is likely to have seasons that are both better and worse than last year, but more likely better.

  21. Peter S December 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Hoey had shoulder surgery in 2008. Don’t think he had Tommy John at any point.

  22. adyacent December 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    I think that if we compare last year April roster with the present, last year April roster was better. Yes, there were a couple of uncertanties in the bullpen and 3rd base, but the plan was settled. It is early in the off-season yet, but the moves we’ve seen so far don’t solve the problems in the bullpen, make the middle infield a question mark (don’t tell me that Casilla is better than Hardy, he was a back-up, utlility infielder for a reason). An for all we know, the starting pitching could be, at best, equal.

  23. mike wants wins December 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    TT:, nope, I realize my opinions are opinions, not facts. If that doesn’t come across in my statements, it is a weakness in my ability to communicate well. I’ll work on that.

    Uncertainty increases the further you get from the present, that is not an opinion, actually, but a fact. Maclolm Gladwell has done some research on the approach teams take to filling holes, and that playing for the present actually makes more sense than playing for the future.*

    No place have I ever advocated “abandoning” the future. I have not suggested, for example, that they trade Hicks for a proven middle reliever or even a proven 5th starter. I would not like that deal at all. I have, however, stated that there are times when it makes sense to play for the present, and I think that now is one of those times. That is, of course, only an opinion and could be wrong.

    *for teams that are contendors, or that want to increase wins now….I don’t have access to the study, but I’ll see if I can find it.

  24. MrHockey December 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Are we freeing up salary to sign Pavano?

    • Kunza December 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

      I hope not!

  25. Keli December 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Just another note on Brett Jacobson…

    He is playing winter ball in Australia, and is on the same team as Luke Hughes, Liam Hendriks and Allan de San Miguel. So hopefully the Twins were able to get a good scouting report at him.

  26. TT December 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    “If that doesn’t come across in my statements,”

    Actually, I did NOT mean to imply that. I was simply responding to your “sun rises in the east” comment.

    I don’t ALWAYS disagree with you. But I do disagree with you a lot because I think the Twins success is based on looking ahead and constantly improving, rather than “winning now”. That means sometimes pruning off good players to make room for newer players who have more room to grow.

    “Win now” seems to mean choosing players based on their past, rather than their future. If you always grab for players at the peak of their career, you eventually end up with a team of players on their downside. Teams with players all on their downside are constantly running just to stay in place until they can’t keep up any more. That’s basically what happened to the Twins in the 1990′s after Andy McPhail left.

    • mike wants wins December 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

      I do agree with part of your premise, that sometimes you need to sell high on veterans. I think our biggest disagreement is where I am inclined to buy high more often than you are, or the Twins are. I really don’t want to see Mauer’s prime wasted, like I feel Hunter and Santana were because the Twins thought they could win with Lew Ford and Jason Tyner at DH (assuming I remember that part correctly).

      Actually, when I say win now, I mean, and I think I’ve posted this, I want them to trade for a guy just entering or in the middle of his prime. Not sign a has been, not sign guys that never were, but sometimes it would be nice if they went out and got a guy in his prime. (some may say that they’ve done that with Capps, but I think closers are way over paid and over valued, as you know).

      I hope you and I can figure out how to chat on this site, as I genearlly enjoy your opinions, but feel that sometimes we rub each other the wrong way, which is a pity.

  27. mike wants wins December 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    I suggest reading this:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-j-j-hardy-trade-minnesotas-side/

  28. TT December 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    Mike -

    I think we both often rub other people the wrong way anyway. :)

    “Actually, when I say win now, I mean, and I think I’ve posted this, I want them to trade for a guy just entering or in the middle of his prime.”

    I think that is exactly what I am arguing is a bad idea. At least if it requires a multi-year contract. Look at the Twins of the early 90′s. They had 6-10 players, including Puckett and Hrbek, who were trending worse every year. They kept adding players, but they couldn’t even keep up with the decline in that aging core. Once you let a team get old, its hard to make it young again. You have to be prepared to jetison older players who are fan favorites and still capable for younger players who may not be as good immediately – or ever.

  29. mike wants wins December 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I want a mix of age, some young guys, and some experienced guys. And I think if you want to win, sometimes you need to go all in. That doesn’t guarantee the future at all, as the Vikings proved this year….but if you make good decisions, it should increase your odds.

  30. mike wants wins December 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    The beauty of this discussion, is that is all opinion….and can be fun to have.

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  1. Where are we now? « SethSpeaks.net - December 10, 2010

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