The Baltimore Orioles agreed to sign shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year $40 million contract extension on Oct. 9. The new deal includes an option for 2018, per MLB.com.
The Baltimore Orioles agreed to a three-year extension for shortstop J.J. Hardy on Oct. 9.
According to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli, Hardy's new deal is worth $40 million with an option for 2018:
"The Orioles have reached an agreement on a three-year, $40 million contract extension for 2018, the club officially announced on Thursday.
"Hardy would have been a free agent this offseason and said the contract talks -- which stalled this past spring -- picked up again fairly recently.
"Of all the Orioles' pending free agents -- a group that also includes Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis -- Hardy was the one manager Buck Showalter pushed for the most, as the two-time Gold Glove Award winner captains the team's infield and has been a rock at shortstop.
"'Every good team out there, they have a good group of core players. And he's a guy that the Orioles could felt could fit in for three more years here and do the same thing he's been doing,' Markakis said. 'He's earned it. He's done more than enough to be recognized as a great defensive shortstop with power that can hit. He's everything that you want as one of our primary positions on the field. As important as it is, he plays it better than anyone out there. He's a guy that deserves it.'
"Hardy, acquired from the Twins in December 2010 by former president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, signed a three-year, $22.25 million extension with Baltimore in July 2011, which included incentives for being an All-Star, Gold Glove Award winner and Sliver Slugger. Considered one of the best defensive shortstops in the Majors, Hardy would have commanded a hefty price tag on the open market."
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told ESPN on Thursday there's no better time than now to lock up an infielder of Hardy's caliber:
"'Why not now, really? Duquette said. 'When we looked at the market, we thought the best chance to sign J.J. was before he went to free agency because he's distinguished himself as one of the top shortstops in the league. And J.J. let us know that he wanted to continue his career here in Baltimore.'
"Hardy has been a fixture at shortstop for the Orioles since 2011, playing solid defense and providing decent hitting in a lineup filled with sluggers.
"Although he hit only nine homers this season, Hardy totaled 77 long balls over the previous three years and won Gold Gloves in 2012 and '13.
"Free agency was tempting, but in the end, Hardy said, he wanted to stay with the Orioles.
"'It crossed my mind, but at the same time, this is where I wanted to be,' he said. 'There's a lot of uncertainty in free agency. You don't know what's going to happen. I knew that I liked it here and liked playing with all my teammates. Bottom line, it comes down to winning, and I think we've got a good thing here.'
"Hardy, 32, batted .268 with 52 RBIs in 141 games during the regular season, then went 3-for-10 in Baltimore's three-game sweep of Detroit in the AL Division Series.
"In the field, he ranked second among AL shortstops with 99 double plays turned, was third in fielding percentage (.978) and assists (394), and was fifth in putouts (187).
"Hardy is a two-time All-Star, in 2007 with Milwaukee and last year as a member of the Orioles.
"'I hope J.J. ends his career here,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. 'It makes us a better club, obviously. He's been solid. You never take for granted what J.J. brings.'
"Teammate Adam Jones welcomed the signing before the team had formally announced it.
"'J.J. has been one of the best shortstops in baseball the last three, four years, and he's deserving,' Jones said. 'He could have gone to free agency and gotten more money, but it's not about the money. He's still going to be eating good, and he's happy here.
"'And happiness, at the end of the day, will make you happy.'
"Hardy had previously discussed an extension with the team during spring training, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement before the regular season began. He earned $21 million over the past three years."
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