October 25, 2008
According to MASN Online, the Orioles and Nick Markakis have had preliminary discussions about a contract extension. It is believed that the discussion was merely to make sure that there is mutual interest in getting an extension done. While Markakis and his agent will talk with the Orioles, there is really no pressure on Markakis to get a deal done. He has three years of arbitration and will be twenty-five next month, so he can wait to cash in next season. However, I spoke with an Orioles executive who said they view Markakis as a guy to build a team around, and would like to sign him as soon as possible.
With that said, it is likely that the Orioles will offer a deal that covers his arbitration years, plus two or three years more. Based on players similar to Markakis who have received long term contracts, I'd say a six year deal worth about 11-13 million dollars annually will get it done. Markakis has a lot of room to grow, and it can be seen by his increased patience at the plate as well as an increase in on base percentage. Orioles President Andy McPhail has a history of including options and performance bonuses, so expect any deal to be loaded with incentives.
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