Prior to being dismissed as the Baltimore Orioles’ President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail had his sights set on a new shortstop for the organization.
During the 2010 offseason, one of two players was rumored to fill the hole in Charm City, Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett or Minnesota Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy.
MacPhail chose Hardy.
On Dec. 9 2010, the Orioles traded minor league pitchers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson to the Twins. The O’s received Hardy, another infielder in Brendan Harris and $500,000. Nearly three years later, it’s apparent MacPhail made the right decision.
It’s as if MacPhail had a crystal ball when he acquired Hardy.
“We’re looking for a little more offense to our regular shortstop position, and we’re confident he can provide that,” said MacPhail in a press conference in 2010.
Since becoming the Orioles shortstop, Hardy has hit 67 homers and driven in 192 runs. This season, Hardy has 15 home runs and 44 RBIs — second in the major leagues trailing Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado (16 HR and 51 RBIs).
In the month of June, Hardy is batting .341. That includes a 15-30 stretch between June 1 and June 9, though he only hit three homers and had seven RBIs.
Hardy not only provided the offense MacPhail and the Orioles were hoping for, but he has also provided defense as he was one of three O’s to earn Gold Gloves last season. In 2012, Hardy led all American League shortstops with a .992 fielding percentage, committing just six errors in 779 total chances.
With his consistent performance at the plate and in the field, Hardy has garnered plenty of attention from baseball fans. He is one of many Orioles in contention to make this year’s All-Star team. Should he make it, it would be his second time making the team; his last appearance was in 2007 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
In July 2011, the Orioles signed Hardy to a three-year deal, keeping him under contract through next season. Should Hardy continue his All-Star caliber performance, it would be safe to say the Orioles would be looking to offer the soon-to-be 31-year old another contract extension.
So whatever happened to Bartlett? After batting a combined .230, with two home runs and collecting 44 RBIs between the 2011 and 2012 seasons for the San Diego Padres, Bartlett was released and is currently a free agent.