Orioles make Hardy signing official

The Orioles just confirmed that they’ve signed shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year contract extension with an option for 2018. Hardy, executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter will meet with reporters at 6:30 p.m.

As I wrote earlier, the deal is worth $40 million and includes a vesting option for 2018 based on at-bats. Also, $6.5 million is deferred.

Hardy, 32, joined the Orioles in 2011 and has won two Gold Gloves and leads all major league shortstops with 86 home runs in that time. He also was voted the American League’s starting shortstop in the 2013 All-Star Game and won the Silver Slugger Award that year.

hardy flaherty highfive sidebar.jpgIn 2014, Hardy ranked seventh among AL players in defensive bWAR (2.1) and led AL shortstops in total zone runs (14) and was second in range factor per game (4.12). He also ranked second among AL shortstops with 99 double plays turned, was third in fielding percentage (.978) and assists (394), and fifth in putouts (187).

Hardy has been in the top five in the league in putouts, assists, double plays turned, total zone runs and fielding percentage as a shortstop in each of the last three seasons.

Since 2011, Hardy ranks second among all shortstops with 276 RBIs and is in the top 10 in games (587), at-bats (2,320), runs (283), hits (600), doubles (112) and OPS (.720).

“He’s a leader in the clubhouse,” said closer Zach Britton. “He’s not a guy who’s too vocal, but he goes out there and he plays hard every day and he just leads by example. He was one of the guys we were hoping to get back and I’m glad that they were.

“To work something out for him I think is important. You keep our leader in the middle of our infield intact. And you have some other guys. You’ve got Manny (Machado) who’s young, you’ve got (Jonathan) Schoop who’s young, and they lean on J.J. and I think people have overlooked that a little bit, how much he does to kind of help these guys mature at their positions, so it’s important that we sign him back.

“For me, gosh, he makes so many good plays that I couldn’t imagine not having him at shortstop with me pitching.”

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