Back in 2009 when the Orioles handed Nick Markakis $66 million they probably expected him to put up solid power numbers as their franchise right fielder. Unfortunately, halfway through that deal he hasn’t shown that he can provide the 3-4 hitter pop that the O’s were looking for.
We’re just hours away from baseball’s trade deadline and Markakis has been one of the few guys who hasn’t been linked to any solid rumors. Part of that could be because he’s owed $10.25 million this season, $15 million in 2013 and 2014 and has a $17.5 million option in 2015.
The other part could be that he has no defined role as a hitter.
I discussed Markakis finally finding his niche in the leadoff spot for the Orioles in my weekly guest column on MASNSports.com.
In his 18 games since returning from the DL and batting in the leadoff spot, Markakis is batting .363 (28-for-77) with six doubles, 13 runs scored and six walks. Astoundingly, Markakis has struck out just once while hitting at the top of the Orioles lineup.
Last night in the Bronx, he recorded three hits, two RBIs and crossed home once in the Orioles’ 5-4 win over the Yankees. Now that’s table setting.
Is it crazy to think that Markakis might be the answer for the Orioles at leadoff? What seemed to be a fun experiment by Showalter has turned into some consistency in a lineup that has proven to be unstable throughout their 2012 campaign.