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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.