The Orioles now have a strong bridge in place to top prospect Manny Machado. They officially signed shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year, $22.5MM contract extension today, in a deal that includes an eight-team no-trade clause. Hardy is represented by LSW Baseball, as our Agency Database shows.
Hardy, 28, is hitting .278/.335/.490 in 282 plate appearances for the Orioles this season. His defense is generally regarded as above-average. The biggest concern with this deal is health, as Hardy played 104 games last year and may fall short of 130 this year. Still, it won't take 160 games a year for Hardy to be worth a $7.5MM salary. The 2012 free agent market is now down to two big-name shortstops: Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.