The Atlanta Braves look to defend their National League East crown, and the re-signing of outfielder Nick Markakis on Tuesday helps mightily.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, The Atlanta Braves have re-signed Nick Markakis. Rosenthal reports the deal is worth $6 million for one year, which will pay Markakis $4 million in 2019 with a $6 million club option, or $2 million buyout, in 2020.
Markakis’ return to Atlanta is a great move for the Braves, who look to make it back-to-back division titles in 2019. The team was in need of outfield depth, and Markakis provides that with his solid defense and a steady bat.
The low cost is also beneficial to the club. Instead of breaking the bank for Bryce Harper or AJ Pollock, they inked Markakis on a team-friendly deal that doesn’t compromise any future plans.
Markakis has spent the last four seasons of his career playing for the Braves, where he collected 690 hits, 38 homers, 158 doubles and 311 RBI during that time. His slash line as a Brave is .284/.359/.400 with a .759 OPS.
Last season, Markakis made his first All-Star game as he hit .297 with 14 homers and 93 RBI while playing in every game. He was a productive hitter and an important piece to the Braves lineup.
The depth is probably the most important part of bringing back the three-time Gold Glove winner. He can play both corner spots and adds a left-handed bat to a right-handed heavy team.
Currently, the three outfielders that are projected to be on the Braves roster as of right now are Ender Inciarte, Adam Duvall and Ronald Acuna Jr. Duvall isn’t an everyday player, and Markakis is an upgrade both with the glove and the bat.
Veteran leadership will also be key for this Braves team that features many young, inexperienced players. Markakis will join Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson as the team’s veteran leaders.
Markakis is 35-years old, so there will be some reason to believe he will regress. But, having him to start the season provides a safety net until the Braves re-asses their needs as the season approaches the trade deadline, or late in free agency.
This marks another smart contract that has no long-term commitment for the Braves. Team general manager Alex Anthopoulos signed former MVP Donaldson to a one-year, $23 million deal earlier this offseason.