Author: Craig Calcaterra

Orioles' Markakis hits a RBI-single off Yankees' Mitchell during the third inning of their MLB spring training game in Sarasota

Empty Platitude Watch: Nick Markakis edition


Braves defacto general manager John Hart had this to say about the Nick Markakis signing yesterday:

“We have added a winning player on the field, in the clubhouse, and in the community . . .Nick is a true professional, and our fans will enjoy the way he plays the game.”

Those are meaningless phrases, of course. Unless you can show me any player who, when signed, was considered “a losing player” or “a real amateur” who will cause fans “to really, really hate the way he plays the game.”

The truth, of course — “we signed a guy who won’t totally crap the bed but isn’t as good as you think he is and won’t alienate our suburban white fan base or cause us headaches or force us to mess with the roster a lot during the year” — would be far less inspiring press-conference fodder.

The Dodgers could shop Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke AP

On the heels of the news that the Dodgers may make a push for Jon Lester, Chris Cotillo reports that L.A. could shop Zack Greinke:

According to major-league sources, a growing concern within the Dodgers’ organization that Zach Greinke could opt out of his contract next winter may lead to the team making the right-hander available in trade talks in order to free up a rotation spot for a pitcher like Lester,James Shields or Max Scherzer.

Signing one of the big free agent pitchers and dealing Greinke to fill, say, an infield spot could be a neat idea. But it’s not like they could necessarily command a ton of talent in return given that Greinke would still have his opt-out with the new team. As such, it’d be akin to dealing a near-free agent on a rental deal, not a blockbuster trade for a team-controlled ace.

My guess is this is just talk, but it’s interesting talk I suppose.

The Giants are talking to Nick Markakis

Nick Markakis Getty

The Braves have been said to be hot and heavy on Nick Markakis, and were reported to have met personally with Markakis in Baltimore the other day. But it may not be a one horse race:

I don’t root for the Giants much, but ain’t gonna lie: rooting for them to save the Braves from themselves here. For, while Markakis may be a fine guy and a decent enough corner outfielder, he’s not the guy a team that is rebuilding or re-jiggering or whatever it is the Braves are doing should be going after.

At least not based on the contract he’s expected to get, which is 4-5 years and in excess of $10 million per. Yes, he’s a big name, but that name rests on a lot of production from several years ago. This past season he hit just .276 with 14 homers and a .729 OPS in 155 games and he was even worse in 2013, hitting .271 with 10 homers and a .685 OPS in 160 games.

The Braves sign Jim Johnson to a one-year deal

Jim Johnson Tigers

Feel the excitement:

Johnson, of course, had back-to-back seasons with 50 saves in 2012 and 2013. 2014 was a total train wreck, however, as he posted a grisly 7.09 ERA in 21 appearances between Oakland and Detroit. You have to assume he had some sort of physical breakdown and/or the expiration of his Faustian Bargain, leading to his cratering last season.

Jon Heyman reports that Johnson’s base salary will be $1.6MM and that he can earn up to $900K in incentives.