More on the Orioles losing Markakis to the Braves

BALTIMORE— The Orioles lost a key cornerstone of their organization on Wednesday night, as Nick Markakis —who had been the longest-tenured active Oriole— agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.

Markakis, who had spent the past nine years with the O’s, was a quiet team leader who had made his year-round home in nearby Monkton, Md. Together with wife Christina, the Markakis’ were a huge part of the Baltimore community and the departure of the popular 31-year-old —who was the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2003— leaves quite a hole in right field.

“U don’t want my opinion!!!!!!!!,” Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones, a close friend of Markakis, said minutes after the news broke on Twitter.

“Say it ain’t so,” echoed closer Zach Britton.

But indeed it is, as Markakis —slated for a physical on Friday— is returning home to Georgia and playing for a Braves club located roughly 30 miles from his hometown. He will be reunited with longtime Oriole Jim Johnson, who signed with Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon, and for the first time suit up against Baltimore at Camden Yards in July.

The Markakis news comes on the heels of the Orioles losing outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz earlier this week, as Cruz signed a four-year pact with Seattle. Unlike Cruz, however, the O’s appeared to be on the same page with Markakis’ camp early and the two sides reaching a deal seemed to be nearly a foregone conclusion. But talks stalled over the length of the deal, with Baltimore growing wary of offering four years, and other teams expressing interest in the right fielder.

Still, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette refuted that the O’s were out of the Markakis race as recently as Tuesday, saying, “Rumors of our demise are largely exaggerated.”

Perhaps not. Atlanta reportedly made a strong push on Wednesday in adding Markakis, after several members of the organization had dinner with Markakis in Monkton on Tuesday night. In Markakis, the Braves get a steady fixture on the field and in the clubhouse as Atlanta continues its winter overhaul. Markakis batted .276 this season with a .342 on-base percentage and .386 slugging percentage in 155 games, winning his second career Gold Glove Award in the process.

For the Orioles, his departure only intensifies the need to add outfield help. To borrow a popular phrase from manager Buck Showalter Markakis “spoiled” the Orioles with his level of play in right field and —coupled with Cruz— his absence puts the O’s outfield in a precarious state. Alejandro de Aza slots in right now in a corner spot beside Jones with the O’s also returning David Lough, but Duquette had already planned on adding outfield help even before losing Markakis.

14 Comments

Orioles never going to see a World Series as long as they won’t pay players

Thank you for your always timely and extremely informative reporting – even though this is one that we did not want to hear🙂.

The Orioles are using much of the budgeted money in attempting to keep the arbitration eligible players. I cannot believe that the ownership is as much interested in winning a World Series as it is in staying within budget limits. Unless we have a surprise in the farm system, there are not too many quality free agent outfielders left to replace both Nick and Nelson Cruz. Also just as important is the impending loss of Andrew Miller.

I guess it will be another 14 years before baltimore has another winning season, Unless we get rid of an owner

This is a team that threw $50 million at Ubaldo Jimenez, but couldn’t re-sign Nick Markakis… I can see not signing Nelson Cruz to a long term deal, but this is a bad sign for the Orioles’ bargain hunting future … 2014 one step forward, 2015 two steps back

I like De Aza in left and Pearce in right. What is the thinking behind suggesting De Aza in right?

Also I’m thinking Dariel Alvarez., #5 prospect on baseball america’s 2015 top 10 Orioles prospects, might get a chance at some point this season.

Maybe they can bring Nolan Reimold home fairly cheaply , he is still a FA.

jowend44 I completely agree with you. NC, going, going, gone! NM, going, going, going, gone! Back to back the O’s lost two premiere players. This is the shock I did not expect. Went to the Atlanta Braves webpage to convince myself what I read, and surprisingly enough the main page looked like our O’s page with JJ and NM as their main-bout. Let’s hope for the best in 2015. We got some homework to do as yet.

Big loss and big mistake. Why in the world we spend $50 million on Ubaldo Jimenez a very suspect player and can’t spend the money to keep a true known great steady player like Nick. I just don’t understand. The 2015 season is going to be dismal unless Buck can do his miracles once again with unknown players and so called wash-up players. I have been an Orioles fan for over 50 years and the past two years are the first time I had been excited about their team since 1997. Now I am dishearten once again.

Maybe the Orioles have some secret weapons in their farm system that fans are unaware of. Heard they may be able to get Nuri Aoki from Kansas City but he has
absolutely no power. The next couple of months will sure be challenging for DD and Buck as they try to fill these holes and improve our pitching.

Finally showing signs of life and winning. Now we go backwards. I guess the brass prefers empty green seats instead of filled orange ones. Very angry. My money in 2015 will remain in my pocket.

Are you kidding me? Is Duquette trying to give back his GM award already. Letting Cruz and now Markakis walk? I can’t wait to see the grand plan to replace these two bats. Dumb.

Somehow this reminds me of the off season after the O’s great season of 1997, I’m not looking forward to having a sub par below .500 season again.

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