Regardless of your opinion whether this off-season has been good or bad, I don't think you can deny that it's been kind of wild. Of the new additions to the team, J.J.Hardy is my favorite. Yes, it's only one year, yes he's had his troubles, but there is upside with this one that could really help the team now and, if he sticks around, in the future.
J.J. Hardy put up two great years in 2007 and 2008 and looked like a rising star. In the two-year span he hit fifty home runs and sixty-one doubles, and played outstanding defense at the toughest spot on the infield. He couldn't sustain his success, however, and put up an OPS of just .659 in 2009. It's hard to say what exactly happened to Hardy that year, although Beyond the Boxscore does offer one possible explanation. Traded to the Twins for the 2010 season, Hardy rebounded some with the bat but struggled with injuries and only played in 101 games.
If you'd like to look for a silver lining in Hardy's offense, there is this: after two DL stints early in the year (the first for seventeen games, the second for twenty-three), Hardy hit .298/.353/.429 over his final sixty-three games. Not enough games to say anything definitively, but an indication that it's possible a healthy Hardy is a very good Hardy. There is also the fact that his .714 OPS last year would have been second best among shortstops in the AL East to Marco Scutaro's .721, not to mention 169 points higher than last year's shortstop for the O's, Cesar Izturis.
Hardy is, to me, a real wild card. In the form below the jump, provide your best predictions for one James Jerry Hardy. Will he thrive? Will he bust? Will he get hurt on April 14th and we'll be subjected to another year of Izzy at short? Click here to see what others predicted of Hardy, and here to check out the players we've already discussed.