Our roundtable discussion continues with a focus on Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis who is entering the final year of his contract. The Braves already checked one item off their to-do list this winter trading Matt Kemp and his contract to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Markakis’ name has been out there as being available before as well. Will the Braves still try to move him before opening day?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Will Nick Markakis be on the Braves' opening day roster?
Ivan: This one could go either way right now. I’m of the opinion that Markakis can be moved for essentially nothing, but only essentially nothing -- i.e., there’s a team that would take him for nothing in return, and if the Braves get to that point of not caring about a return, he’d be moved already. If I had to say one or the other, I’d say yes, he will be on the Opening Day roster, just due to inertia, but this is about as much of a toss-up as I can fathom. Just depends on whether the team comes to grips with the fact that they’re not getting anything in exchange for Markakis by Opening Day or not.
Scott Coleman: I’m leaning towards yes. Getting rid of Kemp was the far bigger hurdle to clear, and it’s not like there is a pressing need to get rid of Markakis. It won’t be a horror show if he starts 150 games in right field and bats in a lower spot in the order.
Sam Meredith: No. After numerous times of GM Alex Anthopolous re-stating that his main goal is to better the defense I believe keeping Markakis would work against that goal. I could see the Braves releasing Markakis outright or sending cash considerations to a trade partner, but there are clearly better options everywhere for the Braves other than Markakis who posted a 95 wRC+, and a .384 slugging percentage with free-falling defense.
Brad Rowland: I believe so. If the Braves can execute a plan to flip Markakis without paying an asset price, it still makes sense to do it but, as currently constructed, there isn’t an obvious successor and it’s an expiring contract in a season in which the Braves don’t appear likely to make a playoff run. If he plays right field with Acuna in left field, I’ll riot. Otherwise, it’s fine.
Demetrius Bell: They already accomplished one of their offseason goals by moving either Kemp or Markakis so I’d imagine that they’re probably not in a hurry to trade Markakis -- especially considering that a player entering the final season of a contract in his his age-34 season who has consistently been worth one win above replacement for the past few seasons will probably only bring in a paltry return at best. I could see a playoff team coming in and trading for him as a cheap rental to help fortify their squad for October but that’ll happen at the deadline, which means that Markakis is going to make it to Opening Day with the Braves.
Kris Willis: Yes. Given that they were able to move Kemp and his 2019 salary, I think Markakis sticks around at least through the trade deadline.
Dillon Cloud: I think so. Even with his below-average outputs on both sides of the ball, Markakis seems to have found a niche in Atlanta as a steady, if unspectacular, mainstay in the lineup. The Braves have stated that they will place a greater influence on defense under the current regime, which would seem counterintuitive to keeping Markakis around, but his veteran leadership and lack of value on the market will likely keep him in Atlanta thru the offseason.