With negotiations advancing with Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the Minnesota Twins know they're sitting on a surplus shortstop in J.J. Hardy. And according to reports, it seems they're now on the verge of sending Hardy away in exchange for prospects.
Orioles Insider's Don Connelly says that the Twins and Orioles are working on the finishing touches for a trade that will send infielders Hardy and Brendan Harris to Baltimore for two relievers. The trade could be announced very shortly - perhaps just after Thursday's Rule 5 Draft.
The 28-year-old Hardy became a trade candidate when the Twins realized they didn't want to pay millions of dollars to a backup. The strong defensive shortstop batted .268 a year ago with a .714 OPS, and would fill a gaping hole for the Orioles. Additionally, the 30-year-old Harris has a good amount of Major League experience, and while he isn't great in the field, he has a serviceable bat, and would make for a useful utility player, also filling a need in Baltimore.
The Twins would presumably add two relievers in return, but they would be making this trade more for purposes of salary relief than talent addition. Hardy will make a raise from 2010's $5.1 million while Harris is set to make $1.75 million in 2011, and neither looked to be worth it in Minnesota with Nishioka all but in the mix.