Orioles decline 2018 options for lefty Wade Miley, shortstop J.J. Hardy

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

The Orioles began their offseason business Friday by formally declining the 2018 player options for left-hander Wade Miley and shortstop J.J. Hardy.

Hardy had been the team’s starting shortstop since 2011, participating in each of the club’s three playoff appearances from 2012 to 2016. Declining his option was largely a formality as the team acquired Tim Beckham in July to be his short- and long-term successor.

However, the now-threadbare rotation that only has Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman returning in 2018 — with Ubaldo Jiménez and Chris Tillman already declared free agents — means the Orioles had to give consideration to bringing Miley back at $12 million, even after a disappointing 2017.

Instead of paying Hardy $14 million and Miley $12 million, they'll pay them buyouts of $2 million and $500,000, respectively, to send them to free agency.

"The club appreciates the work of J.J. Hardy while he was with the O’s,” executive vice president Dan Duquette said via text message. “He had some excellent years, won the Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and received All-Star recognition while contributing to some excellent teams. We also appreciate the work of Wade Miley the past two seasons."

Miley was acquired in a July 31, 2016, trade with the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league left-hander Ariel Miranda. Miley posted a 6.17 ERA and went 2-5 in 11 starts with the Orioles last year as they earned the second wild card. He had a volatile season in 2017, going 8-15 with a 5.61 ERA in 157 1/3 innings.

He'll head to free agency at age 31 in a market that's thin on starting pitching, and where a progressive team might see his pitch mix and the upside that comes with it, and pounce.

Hardy, 35, signed a three-year contract extension during the 2014 playoffs, on the heels of his third straight Gold Glove season and another solid year at the plate. But since then, he's dealt with shoulder and back injuries, plus broken bones in his foot and wrist on hit by pitches the past two seasons.

After being healthy in the early part of 2017, he missed nearly three months with a fractured wrist and ended the season batting .217 with four home runs. While he was out, the team traded for the 27-year-old Beckham, who assumed the role of everyday shortstop and has three more years of club control.

Hardy did, however, get a nice sendoff from Baltimore when he homered in his home finale on Sept. 24 at Camden Yards.

While a five-day exclusive period to negotiate with the team's own pending free agents continues through Monday, the Orioles are now waiting to hear whether catcher Welington Castillo will exercise his $7 million player option for 2017.



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