Orioles turn to contract progress after Showalter’s award


Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter waves to the crowd prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, Oct. 19. Photo: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Buck Showalter‘s overwhelming selection as Manager of the Year was applauded this week and gave Baltimore Orioles’ fans one more thing to smile about, after Dan Duquette won the Executive of the Year honor.

Both awards were richly deserved. Duquette won after being out of baseball for 10 years until three years ago. Showalter’s win was his third. They are both under contract until 2018.

But three people aren’t: Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Miller. While Duquette’s and Showalter’s awards are important, those three players’ contracts have a heightened importance this year. Most reports from the GM meetings this week are that a Markakis deal is near, although his agent was reported to say today that there is a lot of work to do. Much the same could likely be said of anyone’s contract.

No one can really know whether Victor Martinez‘s new, four-year deal with Detroit set the market at four years for a DH, or what other contracts are shaping contracts that are still yet to happen. What someone else’s agent is negotiating probably can be counted on to affect the rest of the market. If it didn’t, market forces wouldn’t be called market forces.

If Cruz gets a four, he will be 38 in the fourth year of the deal. The Orioles likely are pushing three plus a club option for a fourth, and if that’s the case, it is probably a sticking point. In the Markakis situation, there is probably more than just one sticking point, but other than money, one can only guess what they are.

Adam Jones‘ current deal pays him $15 million a year through the 2018 season. Contract trends being what they are, pretty soon $15 million will begin to seem behind the curve.

It comes as no surprise that Duquette is reported to be listening to offers for Ubaldo Jimenez, or at least not saying no to trading him. One less competitor for a rotation spot might actually help, but his contract is one of the most untradable I’ve ever seen.

And so, the offseason marches on.