More Markakis and Urrutia note

This morning's blog entry, largely devoted to updating Nolan Reimold's contract situation, drew a significant number of comments regarding Nick Markakis.

It happens. And I'm fine with it.

Apparently, Mike Francesca of WFAN Radio in New York mentioned how the Orioles and Mets discussed a trade involving Markakis during this week's GM meetings in Orlando. I didn't hear it, but I'll pass along a tweet from someone who did - Andrew Vazzano of SNY.

"Mike Francesa said the Mets inquired with the Orioles about Nick Markakis, but talks didn't go anywhere"

That's a lot different than the Orioles approached the Mets and offered up Markakis. But again, they'll talk to anyone who has pitching, an outfielder or a left-handed DH type.

I ran the report past a few people close to the Orioles and Markakis, and I got the same response: "That's news to me."

I'm not suggesting that Markakis is untouchable, though, as I pointed out earlier, he's a definite favorite of ownership. You can add manager Buck Showalter to that list.

Markakis is owed $15 million next season and the club holds a $17.5 million option with a $2 million buyout in 2015. That's a significant chunk of change, especially considering that Markakis had a career-low 24 doubles, 10 home runs, .271 average, .329 on-base percentage and .356 slugging percentage this year.

Keep in mind that Markakis appeared in only 104 games in 2012, compared to 160 this season, and he still came up short.

Markakis told me late in the season that he failed to make the necessary adjustments at the plate and it turned into a learning experience. He didn't use health as an excuse, but he underwent three surgeries in 2012 - abdominal, hamate bone and thumb - and was sidelined in spring training this year with a slight herniation in his neck.

Did his body let him down, or was it something else that caused him to post a higher OBP than slugging percentage in July, August and September?

Trust me, those stats didn't go unnoticed in the warehouse, and they've been placed beside his contract numbers. The 2014 season will be huge for him.

I'm told that Markakis is finally able to "train hard" again after being severely limited the past two winters, and he's already in excellent shape.

We'll find out if it matters, and how the Orioles choose to shed salary if they try to make a big strike in free agency.

Note: Outfielder Henry Urrutia has been named to the all-AFL team.

Urrutia is batting .377/.434/.551 with three doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs in 69 at-bats with the Surprise Saguaros, who will play in Saturday's championship game.

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