Duquette on the Markakis rumors
BALTIMORE— The Orioles watched Nelson Cruz sign a four-year pact with Seattle and fans anxiously started to wonder if Nick Markakis would be the next free agent to go elsewhere. And while that’s still a possibility, and will remain one until Markakis is off the market, the O’s aren’t counting out a return for the longtime Oriole outfielder just yet.
“Rumors of our demise are largely exaggerated,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of a report Monday that claimed the odds were “less than 50-50.’ of Markakis returning. “We are still working on a number of different ways to staff our outfield. I am confident we will be able to find some good options.”
Markakis is one that looked to be done earlier this offseason, with the two sides on the verge of a new contract shortly after the postseason ended. But it never got done, prompting Markakis’ camp to look elsewhere and talks to stall last month. There is rumored interest in Markakis from other clubs, with CBSSports.com citing the Braves, Blue Jays and Giants among them, but Baltimore hasn’t given up on landing the 31-year-old Markakis. A Monkton, Md. resident who is active in the community and a favorite of owner Peter Angelos, Markakis’ status with the O’s doesn’t really change with the Cruz signing as the two have different skill sets.
“Nelson is more of power hitter, Nick’s strength is his ability to get on base,” said Duquette, who stated earlier this offseason that the club had enough resources to try to sign both players. “Nelson did a great job for us and he got a good contract. So, we have to be cognizant of replacing his presence in our lineup.”