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Non-Tender Deadline Approaching - Is J.J. Hardy Available?

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There wasn't much news this weekend, but there probably will be in the coming week. The ultra-organized Pirates Prospects points out some deadlines this week. The key one for our purposes is that Thursday is the deadline for teams to decide whether to non-tender arbitration-eligible players.

The question of which players the Pirates will tender was probably decided when the Bucs designated arbitration-eligible players Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment. That leaves Joel Hanrahan, Ross Ohlendorf, Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno and Jeff Karstens, and I assume all of those will be tendered contracts. (A final player who would have been arbitration-eligible, Wil Ledezma, already agreed to a deal.)

We'll also find out which players were non-tendered by other teams. Specifically, J.J. Hardy, who has the potential to help the Pirates considerably, could be available, especially after the Twins acquired Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. As of two weeks ago, Hardy hadn't heard from the Twins since the end of the season. One reporter recently wrote that the Twins could tender Hardy, however, even if they don't plan on having him with them come April, which makes some sense to me - Hardy has obvious value, and the salary he will get in arbitration shouldn't be wildly out of line, so it makes more sense for the Twins to tender him and try to trade him.