In case you lost count, the Orioles are in the market for two outfielders this winter. Not just one.
They would like to re-sign Gerardo Parra and plug him into right field, but it naturally depends on how many years and dollars he can milk from the market.
Here’s a thought: What about Nick Markakis?
His name came up yesterday during the “Wall to Wall Baseball” show on MASN and it made for a fun debate.
It isn’t unanimous, but there are people in the organization with interest in at least talking to the Braves about Markakis, who has three years and $33 million remaining on his contract. He’s due to make $11 million in each of the next three seasons.
It’s not clear whether the rebuilding Braves would consider moving Markakis, though it makes even more sense now after they shipped Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Angels for shortstop Erick Aybar, top pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis, and minor league catcher Jose Briceno.
Someone will need to explain to me how Markakis, a 10-year veteran, fits on a team heading in this direction. Unless he’s supposed to be the bearded face of the new ballpark, which is set to open in 2017.
The Orioles pulled their four-year offer to Markakis last winter after examining the results of his MRI and knowing that he’d need to undergo fusion surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. As it turned out, Markakis was ready for opening day and played in 156 games, one more than in his final season with the Orioles.
Markakis hit a career-low three home runs in 612 at-bats and his .376 slugging percentage was his second-lowest mark, but his .370 on-base percentage tied for his second-highest and it went nicely with a .296 average. I spoke with someone who liked the idea of slotting Markakis second in the lineup and bringing his leadership back into the clubhouse.
Though I’d endorse a trade, it probably won’t happen for a couple of reasons. The Braves would have to make him available and also be willing to send along some cash. There would have to be agreement in the warehouse about pursuing him. And who could the Orioles offer in return?
My guess is the Orioles swing at least one deal to acquire an outfielder rather than hitting the free agent market twice. Stay tuned.
We also talked about Denard Span, the former Twins and Nationals center fielder with the career .352 on-base percentage in eight seasons. He batted .301/.365/.431 this year, but he was limited to 61 games.
Span underwent hernia and core muscle surgery in the offseason, which later contributed to back issues. He underwent surgery in September to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.
Manager Buck Showalter likes Span, a plus-defender praised for playing the game the right way. He could move atop the order, and though he’s primarily a center fielder, he’s also been used in left and right. However, there are concerns about his durability.
Span, who made $9 million this season, didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Nationals and won’t cost a draft pick. He switched to agent Scott Boras in September, in case that influences your decision.