Nick Markakis - Baltimore Orioles right fielder

For the first time in — well, ever — Nick Markakis‘ agent is pitching him to teams not named “Baltimore Orioles”. It feels weird, doesn’t it?

I fully expected Markakis to be re-signed by this point and for the O’s to instead be focusing their efforts on keeping Nelson Cruz, but that four-year deal that the two sides were reportedly working towards has yet to be inked. Now, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Kake’s agent Jamie Murphy is chatting with other clubs at the GM meetings in Phoenix this week.

He would not specify to which clubs he’ll be talking or with how many he’ll be meeting, but when asked if he was scheduled to speak with Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette in Phoenix, Murphy said: “No, not at this time.”

Both sides have repeatedly said that Markakis hopes to be back in Baltimore and even though Murphy doesn’t have a meeting planned with Duquette, I don’t think that says anything about where the two sides are in negotiations.

Baltimore loves Markakis, but his 2.5 WAR season in 2014 ranked ninth among right fielders and 32nd among all outfielders. Despite winning a Gold Glove, he recorded just 1 DRS and a -0.5 dWAR.

Still, he’s a solid on base guy in a lineup crowded with swing and miss. His .342 OBP in 2014 was second only to breakout stud Steve Pearce. Oh yeah, and who hits leadoff?

I still fully expect to see number 21 starting right field for the Birds on Opening Day 2015, but I have to admit that the deal is taking a bit longer than I anticipated.