The Mets have been hungry for a legitimate starting shortstop ever since Jose Reyes left the team in free agency, but getting their hands on such a player has been easier said than done. This winter, acquiring a shortstop will once again be a theme after Ruben Tejada put forth another less-than-promising campaign in 2014.
J.J. Hardy could have been someone that the Mets' front office opened up the ole wallet for, but it looks like the veteran is sticking with what is working for him.
Sources: #Orioles close with shortstop J.J. Hardy on extension, believed to be three years with an option, north of $40 million.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 9, 2014
Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports says there will be a vesting option for a fourth year.
Hardy disappointed this season by only hitting nine home runs after belting at least 22 in each of his three prior seasons with the Orioles. Even when Hardy is knocking the ball out of the park, though, his on-base percentages are routinely poor. Most of his value comes from his wonderful defense, which has resulted in fWAR values above 3.0 in three of his four Baltimore campaigns.
For a team that can afford to trade a few walks for power and defense, Hardy would have made for a nice addition to the Mets, but instead it looks like he's sticking with his current club. The Orioles are betting that Hardy's excellent defense holds up over the length of the contract, which may not end until the shortstop is 36 years old.
There are still other options for the Mets, who match up nicely with the Diamondbacks in a potential shortstop-for-pitcher swap.