Can Markakis prolong his Orioles career?

Can Markakis prolong his Orioles career?
January 16, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Hall of Fame voter Mark Zuckerman on the 2014 class

(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Nick Markakis would be hard to replace. Had he not had his thumb broken by CC Sabathia in Sept. 2012, the Orioles may have made a longer run in the postseason.

They may have beaten the Yankees and gone on to at least the American League Championship Series.

2012 was the Orioles best season in recent years. It was a troubled one for Markakis.

Like Brian Roberts before him, Markakis has played gallantly on bad teams, and when his team finally won in 2012, he had to watch.

Markakis plays all the time. In 2012, he missed a third of the season, but excepting that year, Markakis has only missed 13 games from 2007-13.

His six-year contract runs out after this season, and it’s been a good one for both parties. Though last year was a disappointment, Markakis plays hard and doesn’t complain.

The Orioles hold a $17.5 million option for next year on Markakis. They may have other priorities for that money. They’d like to extend Chris Davis and Matt Wieters.

Perhaps they can pay Markakis his $2 million buyout and work out a mutually agreeable contract. He truly does like playing in the relative anonymity of Baltimore, especially now when others are more eager to be in the spotlight.

The Orioles don’t seem to have another right fielder on hand. They have fill-ins like Steve Pearce. Henry Urrutia is using this season to try and demonstrate his worth as an outfielder.

2014 will be an important year for Markakis, and if he performs closer to his historical norms than he did last year, perhaps some more time with the Orioles is possible.

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