The Orioles and Nick Markakis have been discussing a new contract in the range of four years for the free agent outfielder, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. “The two sides have been talking for weeks” about a new deal, and Kubatko believes the two sides will reach an agreement to keep Markakis in Baltimore. Kubatko thinks a deal will come “in the not-too-distant future,” though the Orioles’ exclusive negotiating window with Markakis and all their free agents ends at 11pm CT on Monday night.
After signing J.J. Hardy to an extension before the start of the ALCS, it would be quite a coup for the O’s if they were able to lock up another of their major in-house free agents before letting him hit the open market. MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently predicted that Markakis (as long as the O’s didn’t tag him with a qualifying offer) would find a four-year, $48MM deal this winter, so the reported deal length would seem to be a fit, provided that the two sides can agree on the finances.
Baltimore has already declined its half of Markakis’ $17.5MM mutual option for 2015, which was something of a surprising move since it cost the team a $2MM buyout; the O’s could’ve simply exercised their side of the option since Markakis was clearly going to decline his side in order to hit the open market. Declining the option could make more sense, however, if the Orioles thought they were close to a new contract anyways, making that $2MM almost a kind of makeshift signing bonus.