Baltimore Orioles: Nick Markakis, “Don’t believe a word they say.”


Former Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis is quoted in a story in USA Today in an uncharacteristic way and with an unusually strong opinion.

Reflecting on not re-signing with the Baltimore Orioles, he said,

"Don’t believe a word they say. It was all because of my neck. They can say what they want to make them look good. It’s all B.S. … But, things work out the way they do for a reason, right?"

Probably most of you reading this today have already seen this story elsewhere and have already had your own opinion about it. So let me talk about it this way, by simply asking the question, “What is new here; what did we not really know before?”

We know that there was a bulging disc as evidenced by a MRI exam. It was enough of an issue to undergo reparative surgery on December 17th. The Orioles did acknowledge that this was a contributory factor in not going the extra mile to re-sign him.

But there is the issue as well of his desire for four years. The Orioles just don’t do many four-year deals. Yes, there is the Ubaldo disaster … or so it appears at this point to be a bad four-year contract. But that adds evidence and weight toward not doing them more than it does that they should be done. There is no doubt that the length of the contract was an issue, not just the neck.

Just a million a year less would have likely gotten the deal done. The Orioles would have liked to keep Nick. And Markakis clearly would have preferred to stay.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Have you seen anything new yet?  I don’t think so.

Here is what the story does reveal: that Nick Markakis is truly deeply offended that the Orioles would not have gone the extra million annual bucks and four years to get a deal done. There is certainly the feeling on his part that his loyalty and faithfulness to the club deserved that consideration – that such was not beyond the “reasonable” line in terms of recognizing him for all that he had done over the years, on the field and off.

I get that. I’m pretty sure I would feel the same way in the same situation. He had given not just his skills to the organization and the city, but a piece of his soul as well.

At the same time, I get it as well as to the position of Dan Duquette and the Orioles. Markakis’ skills are statistically in a slow decline. The neck is a concern, how can it not be? Put those two things together and four years is a scary commitment, especially in light of other budgetary considerations both current and future.

All of this is simply the collision of the human side of the game with the business side of the sport.

There is something probably for the Orioles to learn in terms of a just consideration of long-term players, especially those developed within the organization. It seems the O’s sort of wait around and don’t say much, as if assuming the veteran player is going to want to stay so badly that he’ll make the first move to offer the team a home-town discount. And with Markakis, it probably did not help to see J.J. Hardy get the extension at the odd time of the season when it happened, and then when there was relative quiet entering the offseason with Nick, his agent, and the Orioles … well, that was pretty offensive.

It is sad to see Nick quoted this way. But can we really be surprised?

Next: Could Braves/Markakis deal be the worst of the offseason?

Next: Are Blue Jays Becoming Rival #1?