This afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles held a press conference to announce the signing of Nick Markakis to a 6 year/$66 million extension at the Warehouse. Obviously, now a Baltimore mainstay and one of the best right fielders in all of baseball, Markakis will now be expected to be one of the faces of the franchise and keep up his progress.
Now, with the huge contract, a marriage, the 25-year old can now only focus on baseball until 2014 and be a cog in the rebuilding of the Baltimore Orioles.
Although there are some fans that have mixed reviews on the Baltimore offseason, it's almost universal that fans are happy about Markakis finally signing an extension with the organization. Despite needing pitching, a shortstop, and perhaps more power when the 2008 season, Andy MacPhail -- president of baseball operations -- made extending Markakis a priority.
"If we had to choose one thing that we accomplished in the offseason, I think this would be the one thing," said MacPhail. "And it's also very appropriate that it's one of our own players -- a homegrown, drafted and developed player. The reasons for it are pretty simple and straightforward. In our opinion, Nick, at 25 years old, is already one of the premier outfielders in all of baseball. ... We think the best is yet to come."
Markakis only was positive -- who could not be -- about the direction of the team and his contract.
"It was a fairly easy decision," Markakis said of his extension. "Believe it or not, I read the paper. I like to keep up with the team [and] see what's going on, and I think that had a big play into my decision. The money's definitely good. It's security. But you want to see the direction of where your team's going. The way Andy's been handling this, [and] since he's been here, I don't think I can complain with one move or one decision he's made."
As well, he also added about the security that the contract offers him along with a lot of praise for Andy MacPhail:
"When you go through those situations and scenarios, you look at that," Markakis said. "We sat down with scenarios and where I would be in three years, hitting free agency. But you never know where you're going to end up. But with the way this team is growing -- and like I said before, with the moves since Andy's been here -- I can't complain about one move he's done. He really knows his stuff and he's done a lot for this organization. I think that's important."
With everything all said and done this afternoon, I'm sure that most wished the Orioles could do more -- including tying down Roberts to a long-term deal as well -- today was a good day for Orioles fans. The team made keeping Markakis in town long term, and they delivered.
Now, let's hope we add a few more "W's" in '09.
MASN Sports has some video of today's event along with a lot of analysis and a rundown.