The Orioles were overjoyed when he agreed to a three-year extension with a fourth-year option that runs through 2017.
Hardy’s three-year contract guaranteed him million, and if he has 600 plate appearances next season, a million option kicks in.
Not only would Hardy have to be healthy to get 600 plate appearances, but his teammates would have to hit well, too, since manager Buck Showalter usually batted him seventh, eighth or ninth.
The last couple of times they have done so, they ended up with Ubaldo Jimenez and Yovani Gallardo, so, you know.
Even if Tillman becomes a free agent, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an Orioles reunion.
If he can have another season like this one, even if he doesn’t have 600 plate appearances, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Orioles extend him for another year or two.
That way Hardy could end his career with the Orioles, and without testing free agency.
A year from now, Hardy will be 35, and there are not many regular shortstops of that age, and while Machado, who played shortstop when Hardy was injured, would love to play there, the Orioles would like to put that move off for a while.
While Hardy won’t be the biggest story of 2017, it will certainly be one worth watching.
His batting average rose from .215 to .269 and his RBIs increased from 37 to 48.
Not only did his offense come back, but his defense was much better in 2016, too.
He probably could have made more money as a free agent each time, but that doesn’t bother him.
Hardy’s 12-year major league career, he’s played for three different teams, yet he’s never been a free agent. Hardy has twice eschewed free agency for three-year contracts with the Orioles, once in 2011, and again as the American League Championship Series began in 2014.
Connolly’s right about the state of the free agent pitching class that’s coming up this offseason.