In Ken Rosenthal's article covering the reasons why the Baltimore Orioles ultimately decided against signing Nick Markakis (and why our Atlanta Braves did so), the MLB insider dropped this tiny bomb in his post:
In March 2013, Markakis, 31, was diagnosed with a small disk herniation in his neck. And even though he appeared in 160 and 155 games the past two seasons, his condition and diminished power gave the Orioles pause, according to major-league sources.
Instead, Markakis will join the Braves, pending a physical. According to a source, the Braves have no concerns about Markakis’ neck — they viewed a report from a specialist who performed an independent evaluation of him, and expect him to be 100 percent for spring training.
Now, it appears that Nick Markakis will probably just go ahead and get that neck issue fixed via surgery, and the news is coming from Rosenthal, again.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Sources: Markakis leaning toward surgery to repair bulging disc in neck. Recovery time up to 12 weeks. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Braves?src=hash">#Braves</a> knew of possibility.</p>— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/540917545126342656">December 5, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Again, in both situations, Rosenthal makes sure to note that the Braves are indeed aware of the fact that Nick Markakis is dealing with a neck issue. In yesterday's News Digest, I figured that this was a bit of a red flag. It certainly explains why the Orioles decided not to keep him, and it also adds fuel to the fire of those who are questioning why the Braves gave the 31-year old outfielder a 4-year deal instead of a shorter deal, instead.
However, the important part for the short term is that all signs point towards Markakis still being ready for Opening Day 2015 (if all goes well in recovery), and clearly that's all the Braves are concerned with. Here's hoping that the Braves organization's lack of concern is wholly warranted and that Markakis can be as productive as possible post-surgery. For anybody else who may be concerned, I totally understand because I'm pretty concerned, myself. Again, here's hoping that this doesn't speed up his decline during the duration of this deal.