JULY 18 - "I am the decider." said Vegas GM Charlie Oliver. With these words, the Luchadores sent Shortstop JJ Hardy to Worcester, answering the questions of many who wondered what the role of the talented shortstop would be in a world where Jimmy Rollins blocked playing time. "Hardy is a great talent, but let's be honest--he's playing above his ability level. I may be gambling here, but it's what I do."
The deal also sends veteran right-hander Doug Davis to Worcester and brings two young talents to Vegas. "As you may know, I'm not very interested in prospects--I want proven talent. LHP Scott Olsen is the real deal and I've always been high on him. As you may recall, I was the original person who drafted Olsen, then traded him away to get Derek Lowe. Well, now the Luchadores get the best of both worlds: Lowe and Olsen on the same team, striking out our foes. Santana is a great talent, but I won't lie, I'm nervous about him. However, I'm not planning on breaking up our batting lineup next year, so it occurs to me that it might not be a bad plan to have a few extra pitchers. We will not be torn apart like Frostbite was last year."
Worcester, meanwhile, saw the deal is cutting two players who haven’t panned out. "All season Olsen and Santana have been competing for that number 5 spot in the rotation and in the end, neither won out. Davis will provide that stability from start to start and veteran leadership. He may give up 4 or 5 runs a start, but at least he'll go 6 plus innings and for a team in first place, that's what you want. Hardy adds more depth and pop off the bench and though he won't challenge Jeter for the starting spot, he could, perhaps, push Atkins off the hot corner if he keeps struggling. Maybe this will light a fire on the whole infield because you can't keep Hanley Ramirez and J.J. Hardy on the bench for long."
GOSSIP: No word about what Eastern division rival Brooklyn thought about the deal. It was claimed that the Moabs had shopped their own shortstop (Edgar Renteria) but had reached a last-minute snag with the Yuma Firebirds. Yuma is known to be looking for a shortstop, and with the Elims now boasting Ramirez, Hardy and Derek Jeter, appear to be the best match for the perennial Western champ's desire for insurance in the middle of the infield.