Report: Atlanta Braves negotiating with Nick Markakis on 4-year contract


Rumors have been swirling around the Atlanta Braves and a potential pursuit of free agent outfielder Nick Markakis, but as of Wednesday evening, it appears those whispers are increasing. Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the two sides have seen negotiations “intensify” recently, and they could be working on a four-year contract worth upwards of $45 million.

The now 31-year-old Markakis has roots in the Atlanta area, and that makes him a perfect target for speculation. However, this appears to be a real link between the two sides, and with both Justin Upton and Evan Gattis seemingly on the trade market, Atlanta could be in real need at a corner outfield spot.

Markakis, who has spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, does not have typical power for a corner outfield position, hitting 15 home runs or fewer in five straight seasons, and to be honest, his slugging percentage falling below .400 in back-to-back years as his age increases is not ideal. However, most feel that he is a more than adequate defender in right field, and with a career OBP of .358, his bat certainly is not a “negative” in nature.

At first blush, this contract strikes me as too long, but the average annual value is somewhat surprisingly low given what we’ve heard to this point. Still, it should be noted that this is a preliminary report, and we could be a long way from penciling in Nick Markakis for the 2015 Atlanta Braves. Markakis would be a sharp downgrade from Jason Heyward, especially on the basepaths and on defense, but in terms of free agent targets, this is something that would somewhat fit the profile for John Hart and company.

Stay tuned.