The Baltimore Orioles are in need of someone to play shortstop with J.J. Hardy‘s injury. Now, they are linked to a player who will be that someone.
Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy’s injury didn’t cost him the time until he is able to return to the Baltimore Orioles in 2017, which most likely won’t be until around mid-August.
It also cost him any shot at his option vesting for 2018. Hardy needed 600 at-bats in 2017, and that isn’t going to happen.
The Orioles aren’t going to willingly pick up that option, as they would owe Hardy $14 million.
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Thursday morning, Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson reported that the Miami Marlins were looking to trade Adeiny Hechavarria.
That followed by a report by Jeff Passan on Twitter, and then a CBSSports article.
The CBS Sports article looks at likely suitors for Hechavarria, and the Baltimore Orioles are number one.
Clark Spencer, also of the Miami Herald, tweeted that the Orioles were one of a few teams that have expressed interested.
Why does this make sense?
First, with Hardy gone, who is going to play shortstop for the Orioles?
Crickets…that’s what I thought.
Manny Machado, you suggest. Possible. But, then who plays third base?
Chris Johnson? I wouldn’t hate that.
But, it isn’t like the Orioles have top prospects who are almost ready at either position. And, I’m not sure if Chris Davis would be able to play third base for an entire season, although Trey Mancini‘s work at first base makes it an interesting option.
But, back to Hechavarria. He is under team contract for 2018, so he wouldn’t be a half year rental.
Hechavarria, 28, for his career is a .255/.291/.337 hitter with 15 HRs, 78 2Bs, 183 RBIs, 207 R, 26 SB, 17 CS, 117 BB and 374 SO. So, he is a singles hitter who doesn’t steal bases and strikes out three more times than he walks.
His career WAR is 1.8, dragged down by a -2.1 WAR in 2013. Since then, he has a WAR of 3.8.
His dWAR has been positive each year, with it being 1.6 in 2015 and 2016.
Hechavarria is a very good defender, but not overwhelming at the plate.
Well, let’s look at Hardy’s numbers for the last three years.
Hardy, 34 has hit .219/.253/.311, .269/.309/.407 and .211/.248/.308 the last three years. He has hit 20 HRs, 54 2B, 106 RBIs, 107 runs, 56 BB and 199 strikeouts.
So, those numbers average out to worse than Hechavarria’s slash line, and Hardy is striking out almost four times as much as he walks.
Hardy’s WAR over the last three years is 1.3, dragged down by a negative value so far in 2017. Hardy’s dWAR over the last three years maxed out at 1.3 in 2016.
Now, I used the last three years because, as Oriole fans are well aware, Hardy used to be an All-Star shortstop and a Silver Slugger at the position. Hardy used to be a powerful bat. Now, injuries, age and bad luck have robbed him and made him a shell of his former self.
So, Hechavarria would represent a similar fielder to what J.J. Hardy does, which is something the Orioles value.
He also would likely be an offensive upgrade, even though that doesn’t take much.
And, the Marlins would likely not be asking very much. Getting rid of Hechavarria would save the team money for 2018, something we all know the Marlins care about. Plus, they have made it known they don’t have room for him.
Hechavarria’s addition could bridge the gap until Ryan Mountcastle is ready unless the team decides to move him to another position. Then, it is Mason McCoy, the SS drafted in the sixth round from the University of Iowa who is currently for Aberdeen.
I still believe that the Orioles should be sellers at the trade deadline. But, this deal could help fill a hole in 2018 as well.