Update: It's pretty much official.
According to multiple Twitter updates, the Hardy-to-Baltimore trade will be announced at 11am this morning.
Of course, not everyone is upset about this deal. Of course, he's from Hockey Wilderness, so we shouldn't be too hard on him.
Going to Baltimore: J.J. Hardy, Brendan Harris (about $7.5 to $8 million in contracts, both expiring after 2011)
Going to Minnesota: Brett Jacobsen, Jim Hoey (warm bodies)
Jacobsen, 24 last month, was a 4th round pick by the Tigers in 2008. While he throws a mid-90s fastball and has struck out 8.3 batters per nine in 166 minor league innings, he's never thrown a pitch above high-A ball. He'll likely get his first taste of double-A this year.
Hoey, meanwhile, has at least pitched in the majors although not since 2007. In 34.1 MLB innings he's struck out 24, walked 23 and surrendered 39 hits. The good news is that, while he turns 28 at the end of this month, his strikeout rates in minors have been impressive. In spite of missing all of 2008 with a shoulder injury, he's averaged double digit K/9 rates since 2006.
While the deal is not yet completed, right now this move looks highly suspect, and I think we can glean a few things from what we already know:
- Either the Twins under-value Hardy, the baseball market under-values Hardy, or we over-value Hardy.
- While the Twins are shipping off somewhere between $7.5 and $8 million in payroll for 2011, it doesn't seem that this move has anything to do with payroll. Minnesota is heavily involved with Carl Pavano, will be tendering Matt Capps a contract, is going after Jim Thome, and will (in due course) be signing Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Don't forget passing interest in: Octavio Dotel, Rich Harden, Brandon Webb. If the Twins were simply looking to ditch payroll, it could have been done in more obvious and more tactical places. Additionally, you traditionally don't clear necessary payroll until necessary--the Twins haven't signed any of those listed targets yet. If one or more of them fall through, the Twins would have made their team worse while clearing payroll for nothing.
- Which leads me to believe that there's more to this than meets the eye. We all know there's information that most of us just aren't privy to. My guesses: either there's a reason the Twins are so unhappy with Hardy (beyond "wanting to get faster" and being unhappy with how he rehabbed), or there's something else fairly significant that they want to do.
This thing is still technically up in the air, so check back as we update with the latest details. And if you're still awake with me right now...good for you.
(Full disclosure: it's 8:30 in the morning where I am...but I'm still just as hardcore as you!)