Dan Duquette was honored as Sporting News Executive of the Year for the moves he made that sent the Orioles to the American League Championship Series in 2014. Based on the Twitter buzz that came out of Baltimore yesterday when Nelson Cruz signed a four-year deal with the Seattle Mariners, you’d have no idea that award was ever given the O’s GM. In fact, if there was an award for Worst Executive of the Year, the overreacting Orioles twitter crowd would have marched to the Warehouse and handed it to Duquette personally.
Frankly, four years is one too many for Cruz. I don’t think he’ll hit 40 homers again while with the Mariners, but he’ll be a quality DH for three seasons. I didn’t have a problem with the Orioles sticking with a three year offer for a guy that will be 38 in his final season with the M’s.
That “stand your ground” approach appears to be the same one that Duquette has had in his negotiations with Nick Markakis. The O’s appear(ed) willing to offer Markakis four-years at $10-12 average annual value, while we hear that Nick is looking for something in the $50 million range.
The market for Markakis sure sounds quiet. All offseason it feels like we’ve just been waiting around for that inevitable press conference announcing that Markakis will be back in right field for a few more seasons. Now however, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that there’s less than a 50-50 chance of Markakis returning to Charm City.
The lack of movement with the Orioles has prompted growing interest from several other clubs, which initially assumed Markakis ultimately would return to the Orioles. And, with baseball’s annual winter meetings beginning next week, it appears that the outfielder’s focus is now shifting toward signing elsewhere.
Which other clubs are a fit for Markakis though? We’ve heard that the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays are interested, but will either club pay the $50 million he’s looking for? From an outsider’s perspective, I just don’t see it.
We know Markakis has deep roots in Baltimore and wants to return. Buck Showalter has been outspoken about his love for the guy. This negotiation has been painful for fans to endure, and maybe even a bit ugly behind the scenes, but in the end I still see it getting resolved — at the Orioles’ price.
No one values him more than the Orioles.
Image Credit: Keith Allison