Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Rumors: J.J. Hardy a possible replacement for Derek Jeter next season?

Shortstop J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles will be a free agent at season’s end. Could he be a logical replacement for the great Derek Jeter at short for the New York Yankees next season?

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports writes that he has spoken to one agent who thinks that could be a logical fit for Hardy and for the Yankees. Rosenthal seems to suggest that it makes sense as well:

“An agent, of all people, suggested a perfect replacement for the retiring Derek Jeter: Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.

“The agent, who has no affiliation with either player, made an excellent point: Hardy is steady and unassuming, and his low-maintenance personality would make him well-suited to replace a legend…

“…His defense remains solid. And his transition could be relatively seamless, considering that this is his fourth season in the AL East.”

The 32-year-old Hardy, who is batting .304/.327/.373/.701 through 41 games this season, had expressed interest in signing an extension with the Orioles before the season started. Those talks never gained traction, but it is still easy to envision a scenario where both sides decide they want Hardy to stay in Baltimore.

Then again, there a number of people who see super-third-baseman Manny Machado as the shortstop of the future. Will the leg injuries for Machado persuade the Orioles to try and re-sign Hardy? Does the team still view moving Machado to shortstop as an option? And if they did part ways, would Hardy even want to deal with the hype of being Jeter’s immediate replacement?

All of these will be interesting questions to consider if Hardy hits the market after the 2014 season.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Derek Jeter J.J. Hardy New York Yankees

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