Hardy has been out since fracturing his wrist in mid-June, with that absence eliminating any possibility that his 2018 option would vest. He has also struggled to a .211/.248/.308 slash line with just three home runs this year, so Baltimore surely will pay Hardy a $2MM buyout rather than picking up the option at $14MM.
Indeed, Hardy will also return to quite a different situation for the present season. The O’s struck gold when they picked up Tim Beckham from the division-rival Rays at the trade deadline, and he figures to continue taking primary duties at short this year and in the future. Hardy will presumably function mostly as a utility infielder.
The O’s will run the risk of losing Faulkner, who had been slated to join the team’s contingent of players going to the Arizona Fall League. He saw action at the major-league level in each of the prior two seasons with the Rangers, but had not been called up since joining the Orioles organization at the end of camp this year. In 38 2/3 innings at Triple-A Norfolk, the southpaw worked to a 2.79 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9.