Markakis is expected to formally sign his four-year, $44 million contract with the Braves this weekend after agreeing to terms on Wednesday. However, he’s likely to undergo surgery to repair a herniated disc in his cervical spine, according to multiple sources.
FOXSports.com is reporting that Markakis is leaning toward having the surgery. I’ve been told that it’s probably going to happen in two weeks, though Markakis and the Braves haven’t confirmed it.
This development brings us back to the Orioles, who grew concerned about Markakis’ condition and no longer were comfortable offering a fourth guaranteed year. A MRI taken a few weeks ago in Baltimore apparently showed some changes from the original.
The Braves reviewed a report from a specialist who conducted an independent evaluation of Markakis this week and had no qualms about giving the right fielder a four-year deal.
The surgery would require a recovery period of eight to 12 weeks and the Braves are confident that Markakis will be ready on opening day.
Getting the deal insured could be an issue.
Anyway, this is the reason why the Orioles adjusted their offer.
Markakis underwent three surgeries in 2012 - for a sports hernia, broken hamate bone and broken thumb. But he was a regular in the lineup the past two seasons despite getting treatment on his neck.
Markakis will wear No. 22 with the Braves, who sent out a tweet of his jersey hanging in a locker. The Orioles retired that one, of course.
Meanwhile, left-hander Andrew Miller is expected to choose a team later today, according to reports.
The Orioles aren’t in on him. They weren’t going to outbid 22 other teams.
I write this with absolute confidence that I won’t be wrong. I’m due for a winner this week.
Update: Markakis talked to reporters in Atlanta about his pending surgery.
“Everything I hear about it, it’s not going to be an issue,” he said. “I don’t have anything now. It’s just a precautionary thing. We’ll get it taken care of and it shouldn’t be a problem.”
As for leaving the Orioles, Markakis said, “They were great to me. I have a lot of great memories there and a lot of great friends. That’s something that will never be taken away from me. Teammates are taken away from you, but your friendships that you develop with other players over the years is something that won’t be forgotten.
“Everything I did over there is in my past now. I don’t hold any grudges. I don’t think there’s anything I could have done different.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me and it’s time to turn the page. Here I am. I’m ready to start a new chapter here and do what I can to win ballgames.”