Nick Markakis’ Team Option Declined by the Baltimore Orioles

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A week ago I wrote about the Seattle Mariners and the likelihood of them going after Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles. But the Mariners wouldn’t have a shot at Nick Markakis if the Orioles exercised his $17.5 million 2015 team option.

This week they declined that offer, along with giving Nelson Cruz a qualifying offer.

Markakis will be turning 30 in about a month, and his career was good with the Orioles but it never took off like many expected it to.

Even still, he’s got one of the best right field arms in the game, and has a OBP that would slide in nicely batting first or second ahead of Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager.

The key for the Mariners– as is the key with any free agent– is to make sure the price is right if they’re going to sign a free agent. There is no doubt the Mariners overpaid for Robbie Cano, but some would argue that such a signing went beyond just the on-field production.

But today, after a very successful 87 win season, the ceiling is high for the Mariners. The team is young from top to bottom, with a few veterans sprinkled in at key positions. With a few more veteran players adding value in the offseason, the Mariners could be a 90-win team in 2015.

Markakis’ value is tricky for the Mariners. They have a guy in Michael Saunders who could be just as productive as Markakis, if he were able to stay healthy for more than one week at a time during the season. In the previous poll regarding Nick Markakis, 170 votes were casted to sign him for 2-years/$29 million. 169 votes were for 3-years/$39 million.

Most don’t want to see the Mariners sign someone like Markakis for more than three years, and I agree. The M’s still desperately need a power outfield bat, and Markakis isn’t exactly profiled as a power hitter.

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And even still, we can’t ignore the possibility that the Orioles did not exercise the team option so they could work on a more reasonable deal and extension with Markakis. $17.5 million would have been a high price tag for his services.

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