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Orioles rumors: J.J. Hardy trade talks 'real', replacements considered

Baltimore Orioles trade talks involving shortstop J.J. Hardy were and are real and replacements are being considered.

Al Bello

Baltimore Orioles trade talks involving shortstop J.J. Hardy were and are real but have cooled following recent comments made by manager Buck Showalter, a source tells MLB Daily Dish.

The source confirms that Hardy was being shopped by the Orioles, but the team backed off after Showalter made his feelings known regarding the veteran. Still, a Hardy trade is not off the table and the Orioles are considering potential replacements in case a deal is eventually completed.

Baltimore announced yesterday that Showalter and general manager Dan Duquette would receive five-year extensions to keep them with the club through 2018. Now that these are completed, the Orioles could return their focus to filling out their roster.

The presence of former top prospect Manny Machado provides the Orioles roster flexibility. The 20-year-old showed at the end of last season that he can handle third base, but he is expected to become the Orioles long-term solution at shortstop.

If the Orioles do trade Hardy, they could shift Machado to short and acquire a third baseman. Baltimore could also keep Machado at the hot corner and look outside the organization for a shortstop.

Jason Bartlett and Alex Gonzalez are two of the few shortstop options remaining on the free agent market. While they manned second base last season, free agents Yuniesky Betancourt and Ryan Theriot also have experience at short.

Available free agents with third base experience include Brandon Inge, Adam Kennedy, Scott Rolen and Chone Figgins.

If the Orioles were to trade Hardy, they would likely be seeking a starting pitcher or impact bat in return. The club has been tied to Detroit Tigers' right-hander Rick Porcello and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielders Jason Kubel and Justin Upton.