(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Although the Brewers—currently leading the NL Central—are by no means “sellers” at this point, they have a proactive general manager in Doug Melvin who did not hesitate to pull the trigger to improve his team last season when he traded off top prospect Matt LaPorta for CC Sabathia. In addition, the Brewers also have a major league-ready shortstop at Triple-A in 22-year-old Alcides Escobar.
The Brewers could bring up Escobar as a second-baseman to replace the injured Rickie Weeks, but Melvin seems reluctant to change Escobar’s position. This would point to Hardy being available for the right return and the Twins are deep enough in pitching to make it work. Hardy, an above-average defender, brings 20-plus homer power and a respectable average along with the leather.
Hardy is currently under contract through 2010 when he’ll be entering his prime power years at age 27. This season he is making a very reasonable $4.65 million and, again, the Twins have the coffers to lock him up long term. Adding Hardy would allow Nick Punto to return to the role that suits him best: super utility player.
The Brewers' biggest need appears to be pitching. The Twins have some depth in the minors in Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak. It is also possible that the Twins could move underutilized--and underperforming--outfielder Carlos Gomez to serve as the Brewers' replacement for center fielder Mike Cameron who is eligible for free agency after 2009.
Rumors have the Red Sox, Mets, and Orioles interested in Hardy as well.