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Orioles, shortstop J.J. Hardy interested in working out an extension

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Although Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette doesn’t plan to pursue extension talks with any of the club’s core players until next month, he indicated Wednesday evening that he would like to engage J.J. Hardy in a discussion to keep the All-Star shortstop in Baltimore long term.

Hardy, who was one of four major league players to win both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger this past season, will become a free agent following this season.

“That’s under consideration by the team,” Duquette said. “J.J.’s had a couple really good years with the team, and I think the interest is mutual between he and the Orioles in extending that relationship.“

The feeling is definitely mutual. Reached by phone on Wednesday evening, Hardy said he would like to remain in Baltimore.

“That sounds great,” Hardy said. “I don’t think there’s any secret that I really enjoy playing in Baltimore. I enjoy playing in Camden Yards. I enjoy the guys we have. When I signed an extension a few years ago, I said about how I really liked playing for Buck and how I thought we had things going in the right direction. I think people might have laughed at me back then but I really thought that way.

“That’s no different now,” Hardy said. “The last two years, we’ve really made major strides forward and it’s the same feeling now. I really enjoy playing for Buck and I really want to see if we can continue with what we’ve started here.”

Hardy said that Duquette broached the subject of an extension during the Gold Glove awards banquet in October and said they would discuss it further closer to spring training.

“It’s definitely something that interests me,” Hardy said. “I’m not really going to talk numbers, but obviously I’ve been watching the market and I’d just like something fair, but I’m definitely open to it. I’d like to stay. I think Buck and Dan are going to do everything they can to make us better.”

Hardy, who signed a three-year, $22.25 million extension in July 2011, led American League shortstops in homers (25) and RBIs (75) while winning his second consecutive Gold Glove award. He would undoubtedly be one of the top shortstops on the free-agent market after the season if not extended. But the Orioles also need to figure out their chances of extending first baseman Chris Davis and catcher Matt Wieters, who are both under team control for the next two seasons.

Their agent, Scott Boras, said on Wednesday that he would be open to talking about extension, saying he believes those talks would likely go up as high as managing partner Peter Angelos.

“I’m sure that topic of conversation will be with me and Peter someday, but I’m certainly welcome to entertain it and look at it,” Boras said.

Boras said he keeps a dialogue with Duquette — he said he speaks with him two to three times a week and had a meeting in Baltimore in September — and Duquette said he could discuss extension possibilities next month when the arbitration process begins.

“We’ve addressed [extensions] with Scott the last two years in spring training and it hasn’t worked out,” Duquette said. “We’ll have another opportunity to talk about the contracts for the players in the arbitration process and that will come sometime in January. Generally during the arbitration process we will explore if there’s common ground for a long-term relationship, so that’s the more appropriate time to do that.”


Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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