Updated: December 12th, 2011 1:45pm
Jim Hoey claimed by Blue Jays, closing a chapter on J.J. Hardy trade

Jim Hoey claimed by Blue Jays, closing a chapter on J.J. Hardy trade

by Phil Mackey
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The Jim Hoey era has officially come to an end for the Minnesota Twins.

The hard-throwing right-hander was claimed off waivers Monday by the Toronto Blue Jays, almost one year to the day after he was acquired in a trade for shortstop J.J. Hardy. The Twins also outrighted shortstop Pedro Florimon to Triple-A Rochester, leaving the 40-man roster at 38.

Hoey, 28, pitched 24 2/3 innings for the Twins last season, struggling to the tune of a 5.47 ERA with only 14 strikeouts and 13 walks issued. He posted a 3.83 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 21 walks in 42 1/3 innings for Triple-A Rochester.

The Twins were ingrigued by Hoey's mid-90's fastball, but he was unable to develop a major-league caliber secondary pitch. This offseason the team decided he likely wasn't going to play a role in the immediate or long-term future of the rebuilding of a Joe Nathan-less bullpen.

Hoey was acquired by the Twins on Dec. 9, 2010 along with right-hander Brett Jacobson, who struggled at Double-A New Britain, posting a 4.56 ERA with 80 strikeouts, 58 walks and nine home runs allowed in 100 2/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Hardy went on to hit .269/.310/.491 with 30 home runs in 567 plate appearances for the Baltimore Orioles in 2011.

According to multiple sources, the Twins had planned to non-tender Hardy prior to the 2010 winter meetings unless they could generate trade interest. Coming off an injury-plagued season, Hardy was set to earn just under $6 million through arbitration -- a price tag the Twins weren't thrilled about entertaining.

The Twins elected to tender Hardy a contract just prior to those meetings, where discussions with the Orioles picked up. The Twins also lost some leverage due to winning the bid on Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

Hardy eventually went on to sign a three-year, $21 million extension after a hot start, which is a bargain deal for an above-average defensive shortstop who hits for power.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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