MLB Rumors: Detroit Tigers Attempting Trade for JJ Hardy

By Chris Katje
USA TODAY Sports-Brad Penner

It comes as no surprise that the Detroit Tigers are still shopping for a new shortstop. Despite general manager Dave Dombrowski’s comments about Jhonny Peralta, the team continues to be linked to trades for shortstops.

I wrote recently about the Tigers being linked to free agent Stephen Drew. The Boston Red Sox swooped in and signed Drew to a multi-year deal. It appeared that the Tigers would roll with Peralta for the 2013 season, until rumors emerged that the team was part of a three team deal for J.J. Hardy.

The Tigers, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs are being linked as a three team deal. The Tigers would trade Rick Porcello to the Cubs and would receive Hardy in return for the Orioles. The Tigers are the team that brought the Orioles into the trade, after the Cubs heavily pursued Porcello. There is no word out on what the Cubs would offer the Orioles in return. If talks fall through, the Tigers may work directly with Baltimore to land shortstop Hardy.

In 2012, Hardy played in 158 games, hitting .238 with an on-base percentage of .282. Hardy also added 30 doubles, 22 home runs and 68 RBI. Over his career with the Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins, Hardy is a .259 hitter.

The biggest interest for the Tigers in getting Hardy appears to be his defensive presence. The double play combination of Peralta and Omar Infante has been uninspiring. Peralta had a .988 defensive rating in 2012, but is a .979 defensive player in his career at shortstop. Hardy won the Gold Glove Award in 2012 for his stellar defensive season. Hardy has a career .983 fielding rating, after posting a career high .992 in 2012.

Once rumored as untouchable in trades, the Tigers now seem content with trading Porcello. The team drafted the pitcher with the 27th overall pick of the 2007 MLB Draft. Just last season, the team traded the 9th overall pick from the 2009 MLB Draft in Jacob Turner. In 2012, Porcello posted a 10-12 record with a 4.59 ERA.

If the Tigers can’t work out a trade, they will go into the 2013 season comfortable with Peralta. Waiting in the minor league farm system is Eugenio Suarez, who I ranked in the top ten of Tigers prospects. Perhaps the team will wait until he is ready to make the switch at the shortstop position.

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