Baltimore Orioles: Two Sides to the Nick Markakis Deal


Sep 23, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis (21) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It is difficult to imagine that Nick Markakis will not be with the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. There was nothing surprising about Nelson Cruz leveraging his 40 homers into a longer contract than the O’s would give. And the bidders for Andrew Miller were going to be plentiful and full of plenty.

But everyone predicted Markakis to come back and that a deal would be struck one way or another.

This trumps Brian Roberts not coming back, that is for sure.

But there are two ways of seeing this. Call it the feeling and thinking, or the heart and the head … you get the point.

Though Nicky was always circumspect with his highly-budgeted words, there was no doubt that he loved the Baltimore Orioles. It meant a lot to a lot of people that he bought a house here, lived here, and invested here in the community in a variety of ways.

Many might not remember, however, that a year ago a majority of the fanbase was down on Markakis, given his poor season in 2013. Many talked about the “over-paid singles slap-hitter.”

But Markakis worked out like crazy over the winter. Compare a 2010 picture of Markakis with one in 2014; he’s a lot thicker now. But even so, his power is diminished; there are fewer home runs and balls driven into the power alleys. But Nick made a decent comeback in 2014. It tailed a bit in the final months, but it proved he could still play at a high level.

And if Markakis can get his glove near the ball, the ball is going to end up inside of it. And few right fielders can throw like Nick.

It would have been good to get him back. It certainly would have felt good. No, he was not your textbook leadoff hitter, but he was the best thing the Orioles had on the roster to do it. I guess, apart from additions, we are left with Alejandro De Aza for that role?

But having said all of that, affirming – like all of you are feeling – that I really do like Markakis, I suspect that holding back on giving him the $44 million for the four years that the Braves are laying out will prove to be vindicated. Maybe not next year or even in 2016. But I’m going to guess that he will be a .250 hitter by the end of this deal.

Still, it would have served the O’s well to have been able to have him for another year or two, but that’s not how the contract situation works out in this sort of market.

But this is not a disaster for the Baltimore Orioles … that is, so long as they are able to secure one of the better options that remain. If you look back over several of the links to articles I have written in the past week about some of these options – most of them containing comparison numbers with Markakis – Nick’s stats do not stand out and necessarily excel. Don’t shoot the messenger here; I’m just stating the facts.

At least he will be in the National League, even though the Orioles do play Atlanta next year. The really bad news will be if Andrew Miller ends up with the Yankees or Red Sox.

More from Baltimore Orioles

There are some nice-looking outfielders coming up in the Orioles’ system – Dariel Alvarez and young Yaz to name two, but they aren’t going to be ready this year. Some move seems necessary now to be made. And the dollars to do it would now appear to be much more available.

Remember too, this offseason is still closer to the beginning than it is to the end.