The Jays are once again in the market for a shortstop this offseason and everyone has their favourite choice - should the Jays sign free agents Orlando Cabrera or Rafael Furcal, or should they trade for a shortstop like J.J. Hardy or Khalil Greene? No matter who people like the best, though, everyone seems to agree that Milwaukee SS J.J. Hardy would be a big upgrade over Jay shortstops of the past, and at just 26 years of age in 2009, Hardy could be a long-term solution as well.
Hardy has put up very good lines of .277/.323/.463 and .283/.343/.478 over the past two seasons and has 50 home runs and 66 doubles and triples to show for his hard work. His age means that he's unlikely to decline over the next few seasons and could even get better. Hardy has also earned accolades for his defense.
The reason I bring this up now is that Brewers GM Doug Melvin has stated that the best offer he has yet received for Hardy is a "5th Starter." The Jays can do better than that, can't they? With the Brewers anxious for pitching help to replace C.C. Sabathia and in the pen, and anxious to get top prospect Alcides Escobar into the everyday lineup at shortstop, the Jays have a golden opportunity to put together a package to get Hardy. Is Ryan a better offer than a 5th starter? What if the cost were Litsch and Ryan? Cecil and Ryan? What think we?