Shortstop J.J. Hardy is scheduled to take his physical tomorrow before signing his new three-year contract.
The Orioles won’t make an announcement until Hardy signs, but he met with the media at his locker earlier today and confirmed the deal, which The Sun reported will pay him between $22 and $22.5 million total through 2014 and will include a limited eight-team no-trade clause.
“There’s a lot of things that I don’t have to worry about now,” he said. “It’s definitely a relief, a big weight off my shoulders. I can just worry about playing baseball now.”
Hardy, 28, could have tested the free-agent market or pushed for a trade, but he chose to make a three-year commitment to the Orioles.
“I like all the guys in this clubhouse,” he said. “I like the coaching staff. I just think overall I’ve had a lot of fun here, and there’s been years where I didn’t have a lot of fun playing. That’s a big thing for me, to have fun, and all these guys allow me to do that.”
Hardy said it’s possible that he could still be traded this summer, but that’s highly unlikely.
“I don’t know how all the language works,” he said. “I don’t think that’s their plans, but I think it’s still possible if they want to trade me. But before the trade deadline, I know that I’ve got three years here, hopefully. It’s good.”
Hardy was hoping that a deal could be worked out during the All-Star break. He didn’t miss by much.
“It didn’t really hit me. I don’t know if it’s hit me yet,” he said. “I haven’t signed the papers, and I don’t know all the language and stuff. I have to go over the contract and do a physical. It feels good and I’m sure it will hit more when I see the papers and sign them.”
Hardy and his agent checked out all the teams that might need a shortstop over the winter before deciding that the Orioles were the best fit. He didn’t change his mind as the losses piled up.
“Right now, it’s not going that well, but there’s some potential and I feel like this team is a lot better than what we’ve been doing the last couple weeks,” he said. “I like challenges, as well as being competitive. I feel like it’s definitely a big challenge to turn this whole organization around, and if I can help and be a part of that, then great.”
NOTE: Shortstop Manny Machado isn’t in Single-A Frederick’s lineup tonight, but he’s available to play.