The Orioles have been slow to embrace the trend of signing young players long-term to save money. Granted, they don’t have any obvious extension candidates aside from right fielder Nick Markakis. Jeremy Guthrie, maybe, but he’s represented by Scott Boras and isn’t a star player. Seems too early for Adam Jones. Earlier this month, Buster Olney wrote that the Orioles plan to wait at least three years before talking to Markakis or Jones about extensions.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun has a new article up discussing Markakis’ situation. He notes that Markakis’ agent hasn’t had substantive contract talks with the Orioles, but discussions are expected this winter since he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the ’09 season. Connolly says the O’s aren’t concerned about saving money during the arb years; they’d be focused on buying out free agent seasons. So they could definitely continue to wait even as fans get uneasy about Markakis. Connolly figures Markakis’ salary will jump up to the $2.5-5MM range in ’09.
Connolly suggests Alex Rios might be a good comparable for Markakis. Rios basically gave up two arb years for $15.6MM and four free agent years for $49MM.