Baltimore Orioles lose Nick Markakis


I had a Throwback Thursday column ready for today, but unfortunately we have to pen a column of a very different nature. I’ll be honest in that I’m a bit shocked to have to write about Nick Markakis signing with a team that isn’t the Baltimore Orioles this morning. However that’s life, as they say. Markakis yesterday agreed in principle to a four-year deal with Atlanta, worth in the neighborhood of $44 million.

Oct 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis dives back to first base safely on a fielder

It’s kind of a shock, I know. But Orioles fans can’t be surprised by this in full. Markakis was rumored to have been wined and dined by Atlanta brass in the Baltimore area on Monday evening. Furthermore he has strong ties to the Atlanta area, spending part of his childhood and graduating from high school in an Atlanta suburb. However Markakis also said on numerous occasions that he wanted to stay in Baltimore, where he lives year-round with his family. But the fact remains that these decisions are business decisions, and one can’t fault a player for taking the best deal on the table – unless we ourselves would sacrifice job security and money for whatever reason.

The Orioles offered Markakis a similar annual salary, but were ultimately unwilling to go over three years. Now having said that, Markakis was the longest tenured Oriole. On a personal note, there was nobody for whom I was happier on the night they clinched the AL East Title than Nick Markakis. I think that a lot of Orioles fans are probably questioning the likes of Dan Duquette this morning, and I suspect that the name of Peter Angelos is taking a few blows also. And it’s okay for people to be angry. However we should also accept the fact that the Orioles might have stood their ground for good reason. I can’t tell you what that reason might have been (in not going for a fourth year), however it’s fair to say that if at this point you aren’t going to give Duquette the benefit of the doubt, you aren’t going to give it to him at all.

Before you ask me what I think, bear in mind that my job here isn’t to give my opinion. It’s to report the news as it happens, and to analyze it. My analysis is that while I’m surprised by this, there’s a reason for it also. And I don’t think that reason is because Peter Angelos is unwilling to pay Markakis. I would submit that they stuck to their guns on three years vs. four for legitimate reasons, be them medical or baseball reasons. At the end of the day, the Orioles aren’t as good of a team without Markakis as they were with him – YET.

As I said, there’s a reason that this was allowed to happen. It stinks to high heaven for Orioles fans right now. However the proof will be in the pudding once the season gets cracking and we see what life after Nick Markakis looks like. For what it’s worth, Atlanta comes to Camden Yards on July 27-29th next season. Fans can also head down the pike to see Markakis play when Atlanta visits Washington. However my hope is that he’s well-received in Birdland when the time comes. This franchise was his life for ten years. It’s up to the Orioles themselves what their life resembles in the wake of his departure.