It has long been assumed (at least in some circles) that Baltimore Orioles shortstop JJ Hardy was simply a “place-holder” until All-World prospect Manny Machado moved to the position, but if recent rumblings are any indication, Hardy could be in Baltimore for a long time.
Duquette said #Orioles will talk to Hardy about extension between now and opening day
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 1, 2014
Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that Orioles GM Dan Duquette is set to open contract extension talks with Hardy, opening the door to leave Machado at third base long-term. It would be tough to argue the merits of Hardy in recent years, as he is a back-to-back Gold Glove winner at shortstop in the American League and is coming off three straight years with 20+ home runs at a traditionally power-starved position.
Still, there are some issues with Hardy, ranging from his career .312 OBP to his ever-rising age (now 31), and Baltimore willingly leaving Machado at third base would seem to sacrificing long-term value. It will be interesting to see what type of deal Hardy will command if he were to sign up long-term with the Orioles, but it appears as if both sides are, at the very least, headed to the negotiating table in the near future.