Alcides Escobar Makes Trading JJ Hardy Possible

Andy PlankContributor IJune 7, 2009

Nobody likes to say goodbye to a player like JJ Hardy. The 26-year-old fan-favorite is the team's best defensive infielder and hits with enough power to ring up 20 home runs and more than 70 RBI a season.

According to new reports, however, the Brewers are considering the possibility of trading Hardy to the Boston Red Sox for a pitcher.

Besides the obvious need for an upgrade in the pitching rotationManny Parra's 6.86 ERA and 3-7 record are particularly sore spotsthe chance to take advantage of emerging shortstop Alcides Escobar's talent may encourage trade talks as well.

Escobar has a batting average of .293 over the past six years, including a .328 average in 2008 with 76 RBI and 8 HRs in 546 at-bats with the Huntsville Stars (AA). The 22-year-old shortstop also showed skills on the base paths, swiping 34 bases last year.

As impressive as he's been on the offensive side of the game, Alcides is even more well-known for his defense, posting a .953 fielding percentage throughout six professional seasons.

Teammates even started calling him "Inspector Gadget" for his flashy grabs and "go-go gadget arm".

While the Hardy rumors have been made public and members of Brewers management say the squad is open to trade talks involving a Red Sox pitcher, no other significant details have been confirmed.

Names floating around the rumor mill include Clay Buchholz and Manny Delcarmen.

A trade for Buchholz, one of Boston's most promising righties, however, might require the Brewers to give up more than just Hardy.