Rumor Mill: J.J Hardy

Posted by Scott Wuerz on January 23, 2013 

Word out of Baltimore is that the Orioles would be willing to deal shortstop J.J. Hardy for pitching help.

The Cardinals are known to have a surplus of pitching thanks to their strong crop of young power armed righties. But I'm not sure there is a match here -- no matter how nervous some St. Louis fans are about the health of Rafael Furcal.

First, Hardy has trended downward at an alarming rate. He was a .264 hitter with a .320 on base percentage prior to the 2012 season. As mediocre as those numbers are, they're much better than the .238 batting average and .284 on base percentage he registered last year.

Hardy is 30 years old an unlikely after eight years in the majors to suddenly improve.

Second, while I would have been in favor of the Cardinals dealing the likes of Lance Lynn to Texas as part of a package to land Elvis Andrus, Hardy is another animal entirely. Andrus is a guy who could potentially be the St. Louis shortstop for the next five to seven years. Hardy would be a short term insurance policy. If I was the St. Louis general manager, a major league starter who won 18 games last year is far too valuable of a commodity to give up for a back up middle infielder.

Finally, the only thing we really learned about the 2013 Cardinals from the Winter Warm-Up is that Jaime Garcia and the club are both very evasive when it comes to speaking about the southpaw's health after suffering a significant shoulder injury last season. I don't think the Birds can assume that he is going to be able to make 25 starts in 2013. And, because of that, I don't think the team can afford to deal Lynn.

For the record, because when I suggest potential trades some readers accuse me of disliking the players I would be willing to deal, I think Lance Lynn has a ton of potential. But if you can get a very good, young everyday player like Andrus, I believe it would be worth it to give up a guy who pitches every fifth day. But the player would have to be very good for me to be willing, if it was my decision to make, to give up a big horse like Lynn.

Besides, if Baltimore really wanted pitching that badly, there is a guy we know named Kyle Lohse who could be had from the free agent market. So it would be pretty hard to demand a premium from them in trade for a hurler.

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