Monday, November 22, 2010

The JJ Hardy Conundrum

The turtle always wins.
The Twins had many questions marks entering this year's offseason.  There are multiple free agents and other decisions for the franchise to make as they create the 2011 Opening Day roster.

Over the last week one player has been the focus of multiple stores, JJ Hardy.  The first story that came out was in some of the interviews that Ron Gardenhire did after winning the AL Manager of the Year.  He said that the Twins "like Hardy alot but we're looking at others."  Gardenhire feels that the Twins need to add speed to the line-up and Hardy might not be part of that equation.

If you take a look at the projected 2011 line-up for the Twins there aren't many positions to add speed.  Alexia Casilla has a good chance to crack the line-up but one player won't be enough to make a difference.  The Twins could use players from their minor league system as well.   Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe, and Luke Hughes have a fighting chance to add some of their speed to the 2011 Twins.

Another solution for the Twins might come from an oversea market.  Tsuyoshi Nishioka is a 26-year-old infielder from Japan.  He has been a solid defensive player who is a career .287 hitter.  He doesn't have a bunch of power but he has shown the ability to steal bases.

Late last week reports surfaced that the Baltimore Orioles were having discussions with the Twins about trading for JJ Hardy.  The Orioles are also rumored to be going after former Twin Jason Bartlett.  These are both intriguing options for the Orioles who finished the season strong under the leadership of new manager Buck Showalter.  It will be interesting to see how hard the Orioles pursue either of these shortstops.

Hardy has stressed that he would love to return to the Twins.  But he also understands the business side of baseball.  The Twins will do what they feel is best for the team, even if it doesn't include Hardy.

All offseason I have stress that I think the Twins should give Hardy another chance in 2011.  He is a strong defensive player up the middle and he has shown power in the past.  There is the issue of health.  If Hardy has health issues again next season the Twins will have to turn to one of their minor league players.  If Hardy is healthy and performs both Hardy and the Twins come out as winners.

It seems like it is JJ Hardy day across the Twins Blogoshpere:

Knuckleballs compares JJ Hardy with Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Twins Target looks at Hardy's overlooked value

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