Orioles Could Trade Wieters or Hardy in OffseasonPosted on November 10, 2013 by Ethan Felderstein
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal recently wrote about a few interesting decisions that the Orioles' front office will face this offseason. Shortstop JJ Hardy, a free agent after this year, and catcher Matt Wieters, a free agent in two years, could be on the trading block, according to the article:
The Orioles are at least exploring the market for backup catchers — Matt Wieters, a switch-hitter, batted only .214 with a .628 OPS from the left side last season. The question is whether they also might aim higher, pursue someone like Jarrod Saltalamacchia and seek to move Wieters, who is two years away from free agency.
Wieters, represented by Scott Boras, is unlikely to sign an extension; Boras generally prefers his clients to determine their values in free agency. It also might not be the right time to trade Wieters, whose value likely is down considering that his OPS has dropped from .778 to .764 to .704 over the past three seasons. Manager Buck Showalter, who greatly values Wieters’ defense, might even oppose such a move.
The Orioles also face an interesting decision on shortstop J.J. Hardy , who is a free agent at the end of the season. Trading Hardy might have made sense if Manny Machado were healthy and ready to move to shortstop from third base. But Machado underwent surgery in mid-October to repair a torn ligament in his left knee, and his recovery could extend into April.
The team’s long-term plan is for Machado to go back to short, where his defense could be otherworldly. Infielder Jonathan Schoop, a top prospect, could play second or third. The Orioles routinely reject trade offers from teams intrigued by Schoop’s power potential.
Hardy, though, could be part of the future, too; Showalter and the front office view him similarly to the way they do Wieters, as a critical part of the club. Hardy has won two straight Gold Gloves and also was the American League Silver Slugger winner at short for 2013. An extension is possible, but there are no current talks, sources say.
In theory, deals involving both of these players make sense. Wieters doesn't add too much power to the lineup, but his defensive value could be huge trade bait. Also, Hardy could garner a huge contract and the Orioles' front office would rather probably want to extend first baseman Chris Davis instead.
Yet, you'd have to think that Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter would want to keep these two along for the long haul. In Wieters' case, Showalter loves the Gold Glove-caliber defense that Wieters plays and the leadership in the clubhouse. Plus, his value on the trading block is weak and the Orioles wouldn't gain much in return.
In Hardy's case, it depends on the Orioles' willingness to move Manny Machado to shortstop and shuffle around the infield. Obviously, they are looking for pitching in return and they might just find a suitor in the St. Louis Cardinals, who are looking for an upgrade at shortstop.