The Orioles have signed shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year, $40 million contract extension, as first reported by Jeremy Conn of 105.7 The Fan and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The exact terms were first reported by Roch Kubatko of MASN.com, who notes that the deal includes $6.5 million in deferred money and a $14 million vesting option for 2018 that is based on plate appearances. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun has complete details on the contract:
JJ Hardy's contract breakdown acdg to source: $11.5M in 2015, $12.5M in 2016; $14M in 2017. Also $14M club option in 2018 w $2M buyout ...— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) October 10, 2014
Though teams don't usually negotiate contracts during the postseason, the Orioles seem to be busy on their final off day before the ALCS. In addition to getting the Hardy deal done, they are pushing for an extension with outfielder Nelson Cruz, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Hardy, 32, was slated to become a free agent at the end of the postseason if he didn't complete his long-rumored extension with Baltimore.
The veteran was expected to receive strong interest from the Yankees, Mets and Athletics who may have to turn to free agent options like Asdrubal Cabrera, Jed Lowrie or Hanley Ramirez to fill the void at the shortstop position.
In 141 games with Baltimore this season, Hardy hit .268/.309/.372 with nine home runs and 52 RBI while helping the team win its first AL East title since 1997. He has been a consistent producer in his four seasons with the club, hitting .259/.301/.420 while winning two Gold Gloves and being named to the AL All-Star team in 2013.
For his career, Hardy is a lifetime .261/.312/.422 hitter with 167 home runs in ten seasons with the Brewers (2005-2009), Twins (2010) and Orioles (2011-2014). He is now under Orioles' control through his age-34 season, providing stability in the middle infield and taking a top shortstop option off the free agent market.