But there have been rumors about trading or releasing Hardy for weeks. Remember how often Hardy came up in discussion as a non-tender candidate? Here are all sorts of other signs that the Twins were planning for some time to let Hardy go.
- Every Twin on the 25 man roster got an invitation to Bill Smith's holiday party, except for JJ Hardy. When Hardy asked Smith about it, Smith told Hardy the invitation must have been lost in the mail, and he'd send a new one. A few days later, Alexi Casilla got a second invitation in the mail. Hardy never received an invite.
- Hardy reportedly upset manager Ron Gardenhire by hitting the batting cages early in the offseason. Gardy called him to complain: "What's your problem, JJ? Don't you know that shortstops need SPEED? They don't need to hit!! You should be at the TRACK, not the ballpark!" Rumor has it that Gardy also suggested that JJ "try shoplifting" to improve his stealing abilities.
- Bill Smith was overheard telling rival GMs that "for the right price, any player is available... especially JJ Hardy."
- When ordering breakfast at a local cafe, Gardenhire told his waiter that he wanted "pancakes, bacon, toast, hashbrowns... no Hardy." At a confused look from the waiter, Gardy tried to explain that he meant "no har...d-boiled eggs."
- Joe Mauer recently told Hardy that he "wasn't sure if I could handle a long distance bromance."
- Bill Smith reportedly drafted a fanpost called FIRE J, but the rest of the front office stopped him before he could post it.