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 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.