J.J. Hardy would like to stay, but 'everything changes' in free agency

September 23, 2014|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK — Shortstop J.J. Hardy reiterated after Monday's game that he would like to remain in an Orioles uniform for the rest of his career following reports out of New York that said the pending free agent would consider signing with the Yankees.

Hardy has long made his desire to remain in Baltimore clear. He likes playing for manager Buck Showalter and enjoys the clubhouse chemistry that he has built. Since the Orioles acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota Twins after the 2010 season, he has been an instrumental part of the team's transformation from doormat to division champion.  

The three-year, $22.5 million extension Hardy signed in July 2011 expires at the end of the season. Since this past offseason, he has expressed his openness to discuss an extension that could keep him with the Orioles, but nothing has come to fruition.

Hardy, who had the only hit in the Orioles' 5-0 loss to the Yankees on Monday, said he thought he'd spend his entire career with his past two teams. He came up to the major leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers and played there for five years before he was traded to Minnesota after the 2009 season. This time, it's a little different because he will be a free agent for the first time in his career, so he can choose his next step.

“I said that, once I got here, I planned to finish my career here unless I went to free agency,” Hardy said about playing in Baltimore. “Then everything changes. That's true.”

NJ.com and the New York Post said Monday that Hardy would consider signing with the Yankees in free agency, who are looking for a replacement for future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

With a resume that includes five 20-homer seasons and American League Gold Glove Awards in each of the past two seasons, Hardy would undoubtedly be one of the top shortstops on the market if he goes to free agency.

Right now, Hardy is focused on helping the Orioles deep into the postseason. He made it clear after Monday's game that he wasn't focusing on wearing pinstripes next year.

“Would the Yankees be the first choice?” Hardy said. “There are 29 other teams out there, and if I make it to free agency, it's whatever happens, happens. Do I want to stay here? Yeah. I've always said since spring training that. So I guess we wait and see what happens.”

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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