While I am trying to warm up after spending much of the day in downtown Baltimore near City Hall eagerly awaiting Barack Obama's grand appearance, the Orioles and Nick Markakis may be close to a long term deal.
Following the lead of Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox, the organization needs to lock down their right fielder who is quickly becoming one of the most reliable and soon to be pre-eminent players in the game. If a deal is made, it's deserved for Markakis. As well, if the text below is true, the Orioles perhaps should relish that they signed the right fielder to a bargain. Assuming he does not go the DL, or show a steep decline in performance, I see great value in this deal.
From the Baltimore Sun: Markakis and the Orioles have made "real progress" in their contract-extension negotiations in recent days, according to club president Andy MacPhail. And one industry source said the sides are close to agreeing to a six-year deal worth between $64 million and $66 million in guaranteed money.
"We're close," said MacPhail, without revealing specifics. "But we're not there yet."
MacPhail would not comment further and Markakis' agent, Jamie Murphy, refused comment. But one industry source said that once some minor details are worked out, a deal could be announced next week, assuming Markakis passes a routine physical in Baltimore.
The expected deal would keep Markakis, 25, with the Orioles through the 2014 season. Currently, he is eligible for free agency after 2011.
The goal is for the agreement to be reached officially by Tuesday, when agents and ballclubs must report arbitration figures to the commissioner's office. Markakis is in his first year of arbitration and both sides want to avoid the potential acrimony that often comes with that process.
The kid has been looking for a long-term deal for a while, and now he's going to more than likely to get it. I'm sure the deal is close to being done, and many fans will breathe a sigh of relief once the ink is dry on the contract.
Now, only if we can get the pitching in order...