SARASOTA, Fla. - Last season, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy made his first All-Star game start and won his second Gold Glove. He was one of just four players in the majors to win both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger.
Now he is anxious to find out if he’ll be slugging for the Orioles beyond this season. This is the last year on his current contract and he’ll be a free agent after this season.
The O’s have indicated they want to sign him to a new long-term deal, but not much is happening on that front yet.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” Hardy said this morning in the O’s clubhouse. “There has been not much talk at all. I don’t know what they’re thinking. The ball is in their court if they want me. They know I like it here.”
Hardy also would like to know what the club is thinking about the future of the shortstop position in Baltimore and whether the Orioles see Manny Machado moving there at some point over the next few seasons.
“If there are any intentions at all of signing me to a long-term deal and wanting Manny to move over to short, I would definitely want to know that before. Because, yeah, I still feel like I can play shortstop and that is what I want to do.”
But Hardy stopped short of saying he would want an assurance from the club that he will stay at short.
“For me, for one, I haven’t heard one thing about it,” Hardy said. “I think it is starting more of a firestorm in bringing up stuff that is just ... I don’t know, stuff I don’t want to deal with. When it comes up, if it comes up and Buck (Showalter) tells me, it will be something to address. Until then I don’t really know what to say about it.”
At this point if the club and Hardy begin extension talks, they could linger into the season. Would Hardy have any concerns about talks carrying over into a new season?
“Already this spring training I’ve gotten kind of tired of answering all the questions,” he said. “When it happened three years ago, it happened quick and that would be the best way to go about it for me. I don’t want to have to answer questions every single day like, ‘Was there any talk yesterday?’ We’ll see what happens.”
Hardy is a key part of a defense that was record-setting in 2013. The Orioles’ 119 errorless games set a major league record and the O’s made 54 errors, setting a major league record for fewest errors in a 162-game season.
“Last year was the best defensive team I’ve ever been a part of,” Hardy said. “It was one of those years where everyone was doing their job and it was fun to be a part of. Every night seeing someone else make a good play to help the team win on defense. It was fun watching everyone take as much pride in defense as they do offense.”
From minor league camp: The Orioles’ minor league teams began playing exhibition games on Wednesday. Here is some information on yesterday’s games against Tampa Bay.
* Norfolk tied 3-3 with the game halted by rain in the sixth. Buck Britton was 1-for-3 with an RBI single, and minor league free agent Ronald Bermudez had an RBI double.
* Bowie won 7-5, also in a rain-shortened game. Adrian Marin was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer to left. Michael Ohlman was 2-for-2 with a pair of solo homers after going 2-for-3 with two doubles in major league games. Steve Bumbry was 1-for-2 with a solo homer.
* Frederick won 11-10. Conor Bierfeldt was 2-for-3 with a double and homer. Mike Yastrzemski was 1-for-3 with a single. Jimmy Yacabonis pitched 1 1/3 innings scoreless and Donnie Hart fanned two in a shutout inning to close out the game.
* Delmarva lost 6-0. Drew Dosch and Chance Sisco were both 1-for-2 with a singles. Manny Hernandez was 1-for-2 with a double and Jonah Heim was 2-for-3 with two singles.
Keep in mind the teams the players are with now may not be the clubs they are with come opening day. As more players get cut from big league camp and head to the minors, players get pushed down a level sometimes from where they are today.