The Milwaukee Brewers have traded shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Minnesota Twins for centerfielder Carlos Gomez.
Gomez, who turns 24 in December, was the prize piece of a package the Twins received when they traded Johan Santana to the Mets in February of 2008. He is an incredibly gifted young player, blessed with great speed and a strong throwing arm. He has tremendous range in centerfield, and also good bat speed at the plate. However, he has yet to make the necessary adjustments offensively, hitting .246/.292/.346 in his first 348 games.
Hardy, 26, is coming off of a disappointing season in which he hit .229/.302/.357 and was sent to the minors to not only work on his swing, but to also make sure he would have an added year of control before he became eligible for free agency. Alcides Escobar's emergence made Hardy a likely trade candidate this offseason, and Doug Melvin probably made this deal sooner rather than later to gain financial flexibility heading into the General Manager meetings, which begin on Monday.
Acquiring Gomez also likely signals the end of Mike Cameron's career in Milwaukee. Gomez should fit in for Cameron defensively without missing a beat, and may even be an upgrade given his youth an tremendous speed, but he will have a hard time coming close to matching Cameron's productivity at the plate.
In total that is approximately a swing of $14 million dollars that the team will likely use to address their starting staff, which could look significantly different next year.