Q. Before we get to the Bad & Ugly, how are the cheekbones on this Triangle concept?
A. Thing I like best about the Danks-Hudson-Hardy for Morrow (RRS?) -Lopez-Wilson pirouette is that it slides the org problem from SS to 2B.
The hole at SS is enough to make a lesser GM wake up with the night terrors; fixing second base is a completely different thing. Hey, Matt Tuiasosopo could then play second, for that matter.
Don't forget that the Danks-Hudson-Hardy pivot costs $5M in salary plus Mark Lowe -- essentially two more important players. But, still, Danks is a very fine pitcher right now, and a plan that leaves us able to wrestle with the 170-lb second base problem, rather than the sumo SS problem, has its pleasant side. :- )
Q. You said you don't expect J.J. Hardy to bounce back with the bat? What, just 'cause he's from the NL Central?
A. Here are J.J. Hardy's line drive totals for his career. Do NOT read them if you had dairy for breakfast:
2005 - 21%
2006 - 19%
2007 - 17%
2008 - 15%
2009 - 14%
That decline has been: (1) on an every-year basis, and (2) dating back to George W. Bush's defeat of John Kerry.
J.J. Hardy is coming from the NL Central to the AL and to Safeco Field.
Q. Why would his LD% be doing an Olympics skiing long-jump?
A. Now check Hardy's pitch-type values. The man can't hit what? ... wait for it ... fastballs and cutters.
In 2009 this spiral down the toilet hit its logical culmination: he started missing horribly on sucker pitches (O-Swing%).
Sabermetrically, if not tools-scout wise, it's the dreaded slider-speed bat. The pitchers are just getting ugly with this guy, two guys holding him from behind and another one doing the David Carradine double-kick to the coconuts.
Q. Slider-speed bat?
A. I wouldn't be so quick to say so, but all signs point to it like eighteen neon arrows in a Looney Toons clip.
Hardy's career SLG is .510 against LHP's, only .401 against RHP's.
This dude is the antithesis of the Japanese "hit the tough pitches" batter. Hardy looks for easy pitches to feast on. If the M's land him, go for the garlic fries when it's Jered-against-J.J. That'll be Pros against Joes.
Q. Could he have another year like 2008, when he hit .283/.343/.478 with a 113 OPS+ ?
A. He had a sky-high BABIP (for him) that year. He had his highest HR/FB. That 113 OPS+ was lucky.
I take 2007 to be the upside, when he hit for a 100 OPS+, that being a .273 AVG with a poor .323 OBP but a .463 SLG. The 2007 line mirrors Jose Lopez' 2009 line, though Hardy did it in Milwaukee NL against Lopez' Safeco AL.
When J.J. had it together, he was the NL Jose Lopez offensively.
Q. But young players get better.
A. Most do. Bill Hall won't. Don't bet the Black Pearl on J.J. Hardy's smooth, tee-shot-like career arc. J.J. just got powerflushed by his original club. He'd be coming over here with blue-stained, port-a-potty cleats and sanitary socks.
Still, if J.J. gets it back together, figure .260/.320/.420 and the pretty glovework at short. That's a lot better than Ronny Cedeno, now ain't it.