Last week in this space, this observer posted on the puzzle that J. J. Hardy seems to present. After posting great numbers in 2007 and 2008, Hardy fell off a cliff in 2009 and 2010. Apparently, the Twins don't want to try to figure the puzzle out and traded Hardy and the far less useful Brenden Harris, to the Orioles for a couple of minor league arms. The Twins seem to be putting all of their infield eggs in a Japanese basket they haven't even signed yet.
Hardy might well have worn out his welcome. Who knows what goes on inside a clubhouse, but Hardy only played a few games over 100 last year due to various ailments. The Twins seem to thrive on players they consider "grinders" or "gamers," and perhaps Hardy doesn't fit that category in their minds. So instead, they have traded their only viable shortstop in the hopes they can sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who by most accounts, is an Ichiro acolyte without Ichiro's talent. They have no guarantee that this kid from Japan can even play in the major leagues. Wouldn't you like to find that out before trading your only shortstop?
And what if that doesn't work out? The Twins' only talented prospect at the position is 17 years old. You won't see him (Miguel Jean Sano) for a few years yet. There is Alexi Casilla, but he's the second baseman. If not him then take your pick between Trever Plouffe and Matt Tolbert. Uh. No thanks.
The Twins are taking a huge risk here. If Hardy has proven anything, he's proven that he can play shortstop in the major leagues. The Orioles should enjoy their new shortstop.