Nick Markakis got a second opinion from a specialist after the initial X-rays on his injured wrist came back negative and the news isn’t good: Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Markakis has been diagnosed with a broken hamate bone.
According to Kubatko he’s scheduled to undergo surgery tomorrow and the Orioles are confident he’ll play again this season, but Markakis is expected to miss at least 3-4 weeks.
Apparently the injury occurred nearly two weeks ago but Markakis, who’s been one of MLB’s most durable players throughout his career, was able to play through the discomfort until a swing Tuesday night completely broke the bone.
Markakis hit .256 with eight homers and a .786 OPS through 50 games, bouncing back from a career-worst 2011 season but still not equaling his 2006-2010 production. As part of a six-year, $66 million extension signed in January of 2009 he’s owed $12 million this season, $15 million in 2013, and $15 million in 2014, plus a $17.5 million option or $2 million buyout for 2015.
Nolan Reimold is also on the disabled list, leaving the Orioles very short on outfield options. Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty, veteran role player Endy Chavez, and rookie Xavier Avery will be in the mix for starts.
Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.
While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.
Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.
Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.
For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.