Anyone who knows me, knows I am a big JJ Hardy fan. I have always liked the way he has played. So when I found out that he was traded to the Minnesota Twins today from the Milwaukee Brewers for OF Carlos Gomez, I thought “Wow, what a steal for the Twins.”
For the Twins to get a shortstop of the caliber of Hardy for a fourth outfielder who manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to strangle half the time is a steal in my opinion.
I know Hardy stunk last season and yes, he was so bad at one point he was sent to the minors (that wasn’t all about performance). But I am convinced last year was just an aberration for Hardy. In the two years before last season, Hardy had OPS’s of .786 and .821.
Hardy is a perfect fit for the Twins. He is a low-key guy, who can play defense. Since Hardy will be under the Twins control for the next two years, he will give the Twins some stability at short.
Now the Twins can feature a lineup that might look something like this:
1. Span, CF
2. Hardy, SS
3. Mauer, C
4. Morneau, 1B
5. Cuddyer, RF
6. Kubel, DH
7. D. Young, LF
8. N/A, 3B – Twins still need a third baseman
9. Punto, 2B
Regardless of who they get to play third, that is a tremendous lineup for the Twins. That is a lineup that could win them another Central Division crown in 2010.
As for the Brewers, the acquisition of Gomez officially ends the Mike Cameron (one of the more underrated players in baseball) era in Milwaukee. I know the Brewers had a need in centerfield, but I feel they could have gotten more for Hardy.
Gomez is a fast runner and a great defensive player. Other than that, he can’t do anything else. He certainly can’t hit–yet. In three years in the majors, Gomez has a .246 average and a .292 OBP.
I say yet because he is still only 23-years-old. However, he just strikes me as a guy that a team would bring in for the eighth inning as a defensive replacement.
You can have all the speed in the world, but if you don’t use it wisely, it doesn’t matter. Look at Derek Jeter. He is not the fastest guy in baseball, but he is the best baserunner in baseball. Sometimes that is better than speed.
This move also tells me the Brewers are going to back off asking Rickie Weeks to play centerfield in 2010. If Gomez is the Brewers’ starting centerfielder in 2010 and Weeks is going to play second, then the Felipe Lopez era is also over in Milwaukee.
Top prospect Alcides Escobar is expected to be the Brewers’ starting shortstop in 2010, which made Hardy expendable.
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