Nick Markakis to Braves: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 3, 2014

Getty Images

Nick Markakis spent his first nine MLB seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, but on Wednesday the right fielder opted to take his talents elsewhere by signing a four-year contract with the Braves.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported the news of the new deal, along with the local ties Markakis has to his new MLB destination:

The Braves later confirmed the signing:

Markakis, 31, is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner and has also proved to be a capable hitter, with a career average of .290 to go with 141 home runs and 658 RBI. The veteran is one of baseball's most complete players but is underrated in that he's never received an All-Star bid.

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 15: Right fielder Nick Markakis #21 of the Baltimore Orioles makes a catch on John Mayberry Jr. #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays (not pictured) in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 15, 2014 in Baltimore, Mar
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Baltimore Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette was recently named Sporting News' MLB Executive of the Year, and he had his work cut out to live up to that designation.

Buster Olney of ESPN revealed one of the hangups in negotiations involving Markakis and his now-former club:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports added more on why Baltimore walked away from its longtime outfielder:

In March 2013, Markakis, 31, was diagnosed with a small disk herniation in his neck. And even though he appeared in 160 and 155 games the past two seasons, his condition and diminished power gave the Orioles pause, according to major-league sources.

The Orioles, under Angelos, have a history of quashing agreements due to medical concerns. They never struck a deal with Markakis, but as recently as last month it appeared a foregone conclusion they would retain him.

Instead, Markakis will join the Braves, pending a physical. According to a source, the Braves have no concerns about Markakis’ neck — they viewed a report from a specialist who performed an independent evaluation of him, and expect him to be 100 percent for spring training.

The Orioles had nine free agents to take care of and tough decisions to make this winter, and it appears they were unable to keep Markakis around at his desired asking price.

That suits the Braves just fine, as they rewarded Markakis for taking a risk and moving for the first time in his career. He was the longest-tenured player on the Orioles before Wednesday's move.

Considering Markakis' all-around skill set, Atlanta has to feel as though it got quite a bargain. Markakis still has years of being spry in the outfield, and his keen contact hitting will aid the offense, too. It also helps that, even though Markakis hasn't played for another MLB club before, he'll be in the midst of a homecoming of sorts in this next phase of his career.

It was key for the Braves to add help in the outfield after trading away a promising young cornerstone in Jason Heyward to the St. Louis Cardinals. Markakis appears to be the definitive, starting solution to compensate for Heyward's departure.

Related

    Poll: What Is the Worse Offense in MLB?

    🔘 Steroids 🔘 Electronic sign-stealing Tap to vote ➡️

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Poll: What Is the Worse Offense in MLB?

    Straw Poll
    via Straw Poll

    Bregman Talks Sign-Stealing Scandal for 1st Time

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Bregman Talks Sign-Stealing Scandal for 1st Time

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Trevor Bauer: Astros Should Keep Title

    😳 ‘Every team’s pitchers cheat’ 💉 '10%' of baseball uses PEDs 🤬 His beef with Alex Bregman

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Trevor Bauer: Astros Should Keep Title

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    MLB Issues Statement About HGH, Mike Trout Rumors

    MLB logo
    MLB

    MLB Issues Statement About HGH, Mike Trout Rumors

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report