Nick Markakis returning to Baltimore no longer predestined

No more than a month ago, Nick Markakis‘ return to the Baltimore Orioles seemed inevitable. Now it appears that the long-time Oriole’s chances of returning to bird land are less than half, according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun:

According to multiple sources, there now looks to be less than a 50-50 chance that the 31-year-old will return to the Orioles

Shortly following the close of the 2014 postseason, it was generally understood that Markakis and the O’s were working on a four-year deal, ranging from $10M-$12M in salary per season. The deal seemed to end abruptly and Markakis’ agent Jamie Murphy met with teams at general managers’ meetings in Phoenix the week of November 10.

Markakis turned 31 this offseason and recorded 14 homers through 155 games in 2014, along with a .276 AVG and a .342 OBP. The two-time AL Gold Glove award winner has a career .290/.358/.435 and has been with Baltimore since his debut in 2006.

A slow movement in Orioles interest for the outfielder has prompted the acceleration of interest for other clubs. The free agent’s focus is most likely shifting elsewhere, especially with the start up of baseball’s winter meetings next week. According to Ken Rosenthal, the O’s are already shifting their interest as well:

Per sources, #Orioles also have talked to #Dodgers about Kemp. O’s lining up alternatives if they can’t re-sign Markakis, Cruz and also…

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 30, 2014

There has been no official word as to why talks between Markakis and the Orioles halted, but the general consensus is that the O’s were having some commitment issues on signing him to a four year deal. No possible team interest has been announced for Markakis yet, but that can be expected to change within the next two weeks.

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