December 9, 2010

Twins trade J.J. Hardy to Orioles, select Scott Diamond in Rule 5 draft

I'll have a whole lot more on this tomorrow (or tonight, maybe), but for now the short version: J.J. Hardy and Brendan Harris have been traded to the Orioles for minor league relievers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson, which also means the Twins are all but certain they'll sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka. And in this morning's Rule 5 draft the Twins lost no one and picked left-hander Scott Diamond from the Braves.

  • Ted

    This trade drives me nuts.

    Wasn’t the rumor that “several” teams were in on a potential Hardy trade? And this is the best they could do?

  • OC

    “This trade drives me nuts.”

    Exactly.

  • Stu in SDGO

    Great. So we ended up with a minor league reliever for Johan Santana. This is all we could get for Hardy? Ridiculous. Plus, Smith just gave Nishioka’s agent a lot of leverage.

  • mini_tb

    What prevents Nishioka’s agent from telling the Twins that his client’s asking price has now gone up $1M per season?

  • Ted

    Boooooo! Booooooooooo!

  • scott

    Right now, I’m disgusted with this trade. Bill Smith better have something else up his sleeve or I will be pisssed.

  • AK

    I agree with the other comments. Casilla and Nishioka better start working together tomorrow as the Twins are now banking on that duo to play middle-infield vacuum.

    This trade does make sense from a money standpoint in that it frees up the Twins to try and bring Pavano back, go after other FAs etc, but Ted said it perfect, “this is the best they could do?” Bill Smith is quickly developing a reputation for pulling the trigger too quickly…make ’em sweat a little Bill!!

  • Jon

    AK – Smith “made them sweat” with the Santana trade. The early offers (assuming they were not just rumors) were far better than the package he accepted.

  • mike wants WINS

    Disgustingly bad trade, unless the money is used to make the team better. Re-signing Pavno does not make the team better than it was last year. Replacing Hudson/Hardy with Casilla does not make the team better than last year. Trading for a 24 year old that isn’t out of A ball does not make the team better this year, or probably not next year either.

    Awful trade. I really, really, really don’t loke how Bill Smith and Gardy do their job in terms of constructing a roster.*

    *I hope to take all of this back when they use the money to sign a legit OF, SS, 2B, DH, or SP…..and signing a Japanese player does not fill the holes, there are two holes in the MIF now….

  • mike wants WINS

    While Boston is stockpiling star players, the Twins are stockpiling middle relief prospsects (note, not actual MLB pitchers, but prospects whose upside is middle reliever). I wonder which organization is better run?

  • scott

    I really want an answer of why they did this trade. And they better not say “add more speed” or “we are in LOVE with how alexi cassila hustles”.

  • doug

    I don’t like it either but there’s got to be some way to pay for Mauer’s new deal, and this is part of it.

    Hardy-Hudson-Harris cost $13.75M last year. Nishioka-Casilla-Tolbert will be about $5 million this year.

    The “return” on the trade was turning roughly $7 million of Hardy and $1.75 of Harris into two piles of beans.

  • doug

    I hate to burst bubbles for those who say the trade is bad unless the money is spent to make the team better, but it’s already spent on Mauer.

  • David

    Wouldn’t be a Twins offseason without a pack of jackals gnawing on the carcasses of (a) Bill Smith (b) Ron Gardenhire (c) the Pohlad family, or (d) all of the above.

    Here’s what I wonder:

    (a) Both these pitchers are bullpen guys and hard throwers with decent walk-to-strikeout ratios. Could that be a need of the Twins, possibly?

    (b) Might the Twins know something about Hardy that we don’t know?

    (c) Was there in fact a better offer for Hardy than what the Orioles offered up?

    The contrast between the Twins on the one hand, and the Tigers and Sox on the other, will be dramatic next summer. Small ball vs. power. Methinks Bill Smith is tailoring this club to suit Target Field. Should be an interesting season.

  • Pat M

    I think doug has it right. we don’t know the exact budget BS is working with so maybe he had to make room for other FA signings or in season trades. we should probably wait to see how the season shakes out before we get out the pitchforks.

  • Don’t like this move at all, and frankly, I don’t understand it either.

    Freeing up money for Pavano is nice in theory, but personally, I’d rather give Hardy another chance than bring back Pavano.

    Not the start to the offseason I wanted to see. Bill Smith better have something up his sleeve (like trading one of Baker/Slowey/Blackburn for something useful).

    The pitchers the Twins received from the Orioles don’t help the Twins in any fashion, while they lose a stellar defensive SS with potential to be an above average hitter (Hardy hit .302 from July through the end of the year…).

    Hate this move right now. Hopefully that opinion turns around in May or June, but hate it now.

  • George R

    Shades of Calvin Griffith – a payroll dump, no more, no less.

  • David

    Oooh–harsh, George R. And perhaps a bit over the top? With a projected payroll in the top 10 of baseball, at over $105 million, they’re behaving like…Calvin Griffith?

    Question: If this was strictly a salary dump. why didn’t the Twins simply non-tender Hardy? Huh?

    This trade was made for three reasons, only one of which is salary-related:

    (1) Hardy is not a good value, i.e., the production the Twins could have expected from what they would have paid him.

    (2) The Twins need hard-throwing bullpen arms in the worst way. This was the best offer they received.

    (3) The club rids itself of two bad contracts, freeing money to resign Pavano.

  • Dave T

    Hardy was the best shortstop the Twins have had since Gagne. ++ fielding and + hitting (for a shortstop). So what if he couldn’t steal bases. What does that have to do with anything?

  • Jesse

    I’d rather have the 2 picks then resign Pavano to a three year deal.

  • mike wants WINS

    Btw, one of those bad contracts they rid themselves of was a direct result of Smith being bad at his job. Who the heck signs Harris to a 2 year deal? Great deal to get rid of that horrible deal, even if Harris does “return to form” somewhat.

  • Ted

    David: I disagree so strongly with numbers (1) and (3) on your list that I am not certain how to put it in words.

    At $7 million, Hardy is a great value. His 2.4 WAR last season was 11th best among ML shortstops. And that was with him playing while hurt and missing time on the DL. Hardy looked to be back to his 2007 and 2008 production, which was between 4 and 5 WAR. Since 2000, 4.5 WAR from a shortstop has been good enough for about fifth in the majors; that is, I think, elite. It is not unreasonable to expect 4 WAR from a healthy Hardy in 2011, nor is it unreasonable to expect that 4 WAR would place him among the games’ most productive shortstops. But even a more conservative estimate for Harddy — say, 3 WAR — makes him a bargain at his expected contract.

    If you estimate the cost of a win at $3 million on the market, which is less than fangraphs values a win, so let’s call it conservative, then Hardy’s 2010 production was worth $7.2 million (fangraphs has Hardy’s 2.4 WAR valued at $9.5 million). If he does nothing to improve on his 2010 numbers, he is still a bargain. But if he improves to even 3 WAR, his value jumps to $9 million using the quite conservative $3 million/win valuation.

    How is that not worth the expected $7 million that Hardy would earn in a raise?

    How is that a bad contract?

  • Chris Kruschke

    So we trade our most tradable player and get a Single A middle reliever/setup guy (who is probably one of their Top 40 guys, but nothing special) and another middle reliever/setup guy, but this time he’s a 28 and effectively a AAA roster filler. What am I missing? Makes me wonder if by including Harris we didn’t devalue what was coming back from the O’s.

  • Tom

    I am convinced Punto is back for about $3M over two years. Mark my words – an anouncement will come in a week or two. Gardy will get his guy….

  • MC

    I was just at a Leadership symposium w/ Dave St. Peter and Gardy and St. Peter said they were pretty excited about having 4 draft picks but then backed off that a bit saying they like guys like Pavano.

    They’re not going to be bringing back Pavano.

  • mike wants WINS

    Those 4 draft picks will really help them win with Mauer and Morneau in their prime….

  • Bryce

    Vomit

  • MC

    Hey, this move from a baseball standpoint unless they use those dollars to upgrade their current roster is indefensible.

    In much the same way I think the Gomez trade last year was a result of managing the roster around Gardy’s preferences (he wasn’t going to get played so might as well move him) you’re seeing the same thing here w/ Hardy (Gardy basically threatened to bench him in order to get Casilla in the line-up). To me this is all on Gardy. Hopefully they have a tade in mind to upgrade the roster because they lost leverage in their current negotiations with Yoshi and they made themselves worse next year.

    This isn’t a Bill Smith move it’s a Gardy move.

  • Anonymous

    LOL lets a trade an above average, scarce middle infielder for a 24 year OLD reliever currently only good enough for single A. We’re comin’ we’re comin’, deep playoff run we’re comin’!!!!!!!!

  • Relax — Hardy seems to be brittle and they’re bringing in Nishioka, who likely has a bigger upside than Hardy. $7 million for a guy who hit .268 in 100 games (.100 in the playoffs)and .224 the previous year is too much. Good bye JJ and Brendan!

  • CoachFSCB

    David – your comment “Both these pitchers are bullpen guys and hard throwers with decent walk-to-strikeout ratios” is not entirely accurate. Jacobson does have a good strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.79 (which a LOT of decent prospects at A-Ball will have), but I think you need to check your facts on Jim Hoey. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Hoey has 23 walks and 24 strikeouts in 34 1/3 career major league innings, a terrible strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.04. Last year at AAA his ratio was a very modest 1.88. In my opinion, this is a horrendous trade by Billy Smith which will not do anything to improve the Twins in 2011 and will, in fact, make them much worse. Casilla an everyday player? Ugh. Ted had it exactly right — even at $7 million, Hardy was a bargain. A plus-fielding shortstop who hit over .300 over the second half of the season is a tremendously valuable commodity, and Bill Smith just traded him for peanuts. Brutal.

  • Arnold4321

    People don’t seem to factor in this Nishyuiouisksi’s negotiating fee. So, Hardy+Harry+500K = 9 mil. Niyusidomekmoui fee + Niyushiduskoyoshimi salary + Casila = around 9 mil. So this is a net zero trade money-wise, but it made our middle infield a whole lot worse. I guess it did improve New Britain’s bullpen? Not sure where the other dude is going to fit in Rochester’s pen, they already have a glut of relievers there that the Twins refuse to call up.

  • RyGuy

    “This is a Gardy move.”

    True that. We give up a guy who can play (Hardy) for two guys (being Casilla and Tolbert) who “play the right way.” We all know Gardy loves weak-hitting MIFs because they remind him of himself.

    That having been said, I am glad they dumped Harris. Now we gotta get rid of at least Tolbert…

  • dan

    Scott Diamond could start out as a Loogy in the pen this year – taking on a larger role in bigger situations as he prove himself.

    It was the exact career path of one Johan Santana – though in this case the best outcome is probably another Brian Duensing type.

  • grubah

    Nice to see that so few of you can make a comment without running out the same Gardy-bashing, BS hating drivel.

    I’m starting to doubt my fellow Twins fans’ abilities to create sound arguments and rational thought…

    Look at it from the O’s side: They get one season of an overpaid SS (I love Hardy, but he’s not worth the money), and a horrible contract in Harris. They didn’t give up much, but didn’t get much either.

    You can’t expect to trade a 5 for a 10 – it doesn’t happen. This trade won’t be the difference maker for the season, good or bad.

  • Dave T

    Nishioka is Hudson’s replacement, not Hardy’s. Hardy’s replacement is in-over-his-head Casilla. Whatever happened to the concept that your shortstop was your best fielder?

  • TMW

    Wow. A lot of anger over a player with a good glove and a spotty bat who averages 104 games a year and is probably going to make $7 million. Were we this angry about not re-signing Joe Crede?

  • Arnold4321

    Grubah, so we should just trade that 5 no matter what, even if it means getting a 1 in return? I can’t believe the level of excuse-making for this organization. I know it pains you to say it, but your beloved Twins flat out made a terrible, terrible trade. You don’t trade anyone for minor league relief pitchers, much less proven, above average shortstops. It’s like trading a quarterback for a punter.

  • mike wants WINS

    Crede had a recurring injury that was not likely to get better. Hardy has had a series of unrelated injuries. I remember when people said Robert Smith was injury prone (even though one of his “injuries” was chicken pox). Also, Crede was older. Also, many people felt Valencia could take over for Crede. Not many people outside of me have any confidence in Plouffe.

    The Twins won 94 games last year, and SO FAR (emphasis on so far), they appear to be moving backward next year.

  • MC

    I’m not bashing Gardy in the sense he has his strengths but he also has his weaknesses and Roster Construction is one of them. We just weakened ourselves for this year. It may be apart of a larger move but in a vacum, it looks bad.

    And I like Gardy (he’s a funny guy).

  • Anonymous

    Arnold is correct IMO. The grade does not matter here. What matters is Hardy is an above average player at a scarce position and you do not trade him for a 24 year old single A player.

  • Pedro Munoz

    Whether his injuries were recurring or unreleated, Hardy was on the DL a lot. And part of the reason the Brewers parted with him is that he was on the DL a lot for them too. Given his simply “ok” performance when he was healthy, I can’t figure out why people are getting so cracked up about this.

    The only thing I don’t like is that clearing out a couple of infielders makes it more likely that Punto comes back. And if that happens, nothing else matters because the mere fact of having Punto on the roster is enough prevent the Twins from going anywhere.

  • Tom

    Since when did Hardy turn into Babe Ruth? Because from the anger I’ve seen from Twins fans over this, you’d think the team had just traded away Babe Ruth.

  • Ted

    TMW: Well, Crede left via free agency, whereas Hardy is under team control for one more season, and for a reasonable price at that. Also, Crede didn’t produce as much value during his time with the Twins as Hardy did. Finally, the Twins at least had a reasonable replacement for Crede in Valencia, but no such replacement exists for Hardy.

  • Ted

    Actually, was there a buyout involved with Crede? I cannot remember. I thought his contract was just one year, but maybe there was some ludicrous option, as there almost always is these days.

  • JR Cigar

    I have to agree with the majority here…this trade, taken by itself, looks horrible. I like Hardy and the above-average defense he gives us up the middle. I do not like Casilla’s defensive fundamentals and terrible mental lapses that he has exhibited so often in the past. I am searching for reasons why the Twins front office pulls the trigger on this deal. I can think of only three reasons: 1) strictly a salary dump, 2) their scouts say Casilla’s the guy, we need to let him play, and 3) this is a move that is a precursor to another move. Any way you slice it, we just took a large step backwards today.

  • mike wants WINS
  • Ben’s Dad

    I disagree. I like it. Have people already forgotten what was learned this season playing at Target Field? It is not a power park where a team can get by going station to station and hoping for a 3 run homer to get the offense going. Offensively, Hardy is not built for Target Field. Defensively, yes he’s very good, but I am willing to see if Casilla can continue to improve his OBP, and continue to provide speed at the 9 spot in the order. If he can keep his OBP above .330, I’d be satisfied.

  • KC

    Ben’s Dad – Are Cuddyer and Kubel built for palying the outfield in Target Field? NO – but they are apparently untouchable or untradeable. Would have made much more sense to get rid of one of them.

  • mike wants WINS

    Ben’s dad, if Casilla is terrible, and Tolbert plays a lot, and neither minor leaguer contributes this year, how will you feel then? I mean, Casilla has over 1000 plate appearances, it’s not like he’s not had a chance or three.