Baltimore Orioles fans, you might want to soak in what could be the final year in Baltimore for Nick Markakis. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but something tells me that after 2014, Markakis will be wearing a different uniform.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love for Nick to stay with the Orioles, but I have about 17.5 million reasons why that won’t happen.
After the 2008 season, Markakis signed a six-year deal worth $66.1 million dollars, with the final year being a team option for 2015, which is worth $17.5 million.
After bursting on the scene in 2006, Markakis has played well but not exactly lived up to the high standards of that contract. His best two years came in 2007 and 2008, when he hit a combined .303 with 43 home runs, 199 runs batted in, and 91 doubles. Since then, he has yet to reach 20 HR in a season, and his doubles have declined every year since 2010.
2013 was arguably his worst year yet, as he batted a career-low .271 with only 10 HR and 24 doubles, giving him 34 total extra-base hits for the whole season, 634 at-bats.
Sure, he plays a Gold Glove caliber right field and is one of the best in the game, but when you are potentially paying $17.5 million for a right fielder, you would like to see a bit more offensive pop from him.
In Nick’s defense, he has been asked to hit leadoff many times, which could change his approach to just getting on base, but his on-base percentage last year was only .329, which wouldn’t cut it. Not for $17.5 million.
The Orioles have a $2 million buyout option, which they will likely take.
As a point of reference, Hunter Pence, who is about 7 months older than Nick, just signed a five year deal worth $90 million with the San Francisco Giants this offseason. Granted, his defense is nowhere near as good as Nick’s, but Pence hit 27 HR last year with 99 RBI while batting .283. Pence also smacked 35 doubles and stole 22 bases.
While I would love Nick to stay in Baltimore, I think he will be too expensive for them to keep around. The pickins seem slim as far as other potential free agents at the end of this year, so there could be a chance the O’s keep him, but knowing Angelos, he will go for a cheaper option.
by Andy Mindzak