After nine seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Nick Markakis has signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. Markakis is an Atlanta native.
A first round draft pickby the O’s in 2003, Markakis made the big club in 2006 and has been a mainstay in the Orioles’ lineup. His best overall season was in 2007 when he hit .300 with 23 HR and 112 RBI. In recent years, a wrist injury has limited his power. This season he hit only 14 HR and 50 RBI in 155 games although he hit a respectable .276 for the AL East champions. Markakis also won his second Gold Glove.
It is interesting that the Braves gave up on Jason Heyward and have now signed Markakis who is six years older. While Markakis will probably not regain his earlier power numbers, his defense is superb and is still a solid hitter. Entering the 2015 season, Markakis has 1,547 hits. If he stays healthy, Markakis has an outside shot at 3,000 hits. Markakis has a lifetime batting average of .290 with 141 HR and 658 RBI.
Markakis is the second Oriole to be lured away by free agency. Last week, slugger Nelson Cruz signed a four year deal with the Seattle Mariners. It will be interesting to see how Buck Showalter fills these voids.
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