SARASOTA, Fla. -- Now that the Ervin Santana derby is over and the Orioles still have the money they reportedly offered him, it's fair to point out that $13 million would probably knock out the first year of a contract extension for Silver Slugger shortstop J.J. Hardy.
The Orioles have been knee-deep in free-agent negotiations throughout spring training, and executive vice president Dan Duquette essentially said Tuesday that they were too busy with other offseason business to focus on the players who are creeping dangerously close to free agency.
Though there undoubtedly will be some speculation about the Kendrys Morales negotiations resuming, it seems very unlikely that they will spend big money to further complicate their DH situation. What you see on this roster is probably what you're going to get on Opening Day -- in some form.
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Even so, it's not like it takes all day to make a phone call. The Orioles almost certainly have done their homework on the value of Hardy in relation to similar players. If they truly want to get him signed beyond this year, it would not require an Act of Congress to put together an offer and present it to his agent.
Hardy says he wants to stay, but the dynamic of his situation will change once the regular season starts and the countdown begins to the July 31 deadline for making trades without waivers.