A lot of chatter in today's news round up surrounding the Atlanta Braves and free agent outfielder Nick Markakis. Our own Ian Morris took a look at the rumors and offered his take:
I'm not too crazy about the idea of Nick Markakis in Atlanta for four seasons, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable with a three-year deal, especially if the contract's AAV isn't too outrageous. He wouldn't exactly be a sexy signing, but he would likely be a decent-enough replacement in the outfield, a position at which the Braves currently have extremely limited options, especially if (or, rather, when) some permutation of BJ and Justin Upton and Evan Gattis are traded. There won't be any help coming from the farm in the near future, so this really could end up being a signing made out of necessity.
The AJC's David O'Brien writes that while Markakis isn't as good a defensive outfielder as the departed Jason Heyward, his steady offensive numbers could be appealing.
Markakis is steadier and has been a lot more durable - 155 or more games in seven of the past eight seasons, including 160 or more in four of the past six - and would likely be far, far cheaper to sign for the next four or five years than Heyward, whose speed, marvelous defense, still-there offensive upside and darling status among the sabermetric crowd could help persuade a team to offer big dough -as in, a nine-digit, long-term contract - that folks think he'll seek in free agency next winter.
Did we mention that Markakis has a .294 average and .353 in 982 career at-bats as a leadoff hitter? No, it's not his best spot in the lineup, but it's where he spent almost the entire 2014 season, batting .274 with a .339 OBP and 13 homers in 617 leadoff ABs.
In three seasons from 2011 through 2013, Markakis hit .283 with a .346 OBP, 83 doubles, 38 homers and 186 RBIs, including .329 with a .375 OBP in 365 at-bats in the leadoff spot during that span.
Contrary to a report that came up early on Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves elected to non-tender both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy before Tuesday's deadline.
More rumors leak out on the details surrounding Oakland's decision to deal All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays. Donaldson and Oakland GM Billy Beane reportedly were involved in a "verbal altercation" sometime after the All-Star Break due to Donaldson asking out of the lineup for minor injuries.
The two sides got into a heated argument in the clubhouse after Beane discovered A's manager Bob Melvin left Donaldson out of the lineup, according to Scott Miller. The altercation reportedly led to Donaldson repeatedly referring to Beane as "Billy Boy."
Tori Hunter is reportedly headed back to Minnesota where he played the first 10 seasons of his Major League career. Per the report, Hunter and the Twins agreed on a 1-year deal worth $10.5 million.
Hunter returns to the team that drafted him in 1993 and employed him for his first 10 big league seasons. While with the Twins, Hunter was an average offensive player known more for his exploits in the field. Since then, things have changed. Hunter has compiled a .289/.345/.460 line -- good for a 119 OPS+ -- in seven seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers but has become a considerably worse defender. Since the beginning of the 2013 season, Hunter is 28 runs below average in the outfield.